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Stretching exercises may reduce risk of pre-eclampsia during pregnancy
Date:5/28/2008

was asked to exercise for 40 minutes five times a week at moderate intensity, following the program recommended by the Surgeon General and the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Stretchers were also asked to perform slow, non-aerobic muscle movements with a 40-minute video fives times a week. Frequency and duration of exercise decreased in both groups as the pregnancy progressed.

At the end of pregnancy, almost 15 percent of women in the walking group had developed preeclampsia. Less than 5 percent of the stretching group developed the condition. While the incidence of preeclampsia in the walking group was similar to that reported in high-risk pregnancies, the frequency among the stretching group was similar to rates seen among the general population.

Clearly, walking does not have a harmful effect during pregnancy, Yeo said. But for women who are at high risk for preeclampsia, our results may suggest that stretching exercises may have a protective effect against the condition.

Stretching could provide protection against preeclampsia because stretchers produced more transferrin than walkers did, Yeo said. Transferrin is a plasma protein that transports iron through the blood and protects against oxidative stress on the body.

Yeo said these results could help prenatal care providers recommend different exercise plans based on an individual pregnant womans needs and abilities. Following an active exercise plan is good, she said, but only if a pregnant woman is truly able to do it. For some who already have a risk of preeclampsia, stretching might be a better option.


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Contact: Patric Lane
patric_lane@unc.edu
919-962-8596
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Source:Eurekalert

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