Exercise volume in mid and late pregnancy linked to fetoplacental growth

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – The volume of moderate-intensity weight bearing exercise performed in mid and late pregnancy is inversely related to fetoplacental growth, according to a report published in the January issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Dr. James F. Clapp III and colleagues, from MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland, randomized 75 pregnant women who exercised regularly to one of three exercise regimens for the duration of their pregnancy.

The three groups, denoted Lo-Hi, Mod-Mod, and Hi-Lo, were classified according to the volume of moderate-intensity weight-bearing exercise performed before and after gestation.

Infants born to Lo-Hi and Mod-Mod mothers were significantly lighter and had less body fat than those born to Hi-Lo mothers, the investigators note. Maternal weight gain, fresh placental volumes, and histomorphometric measures of placental function were greater in Hi-Lo mothers.

The current findings indicate that women who maintain or increase their volume of exercise during pregnancy experience a slower fetoplacental growth rate than those who reduce their exercise volume in late pregnancy.

"Different weight-bearing exercise regimens may be of clinical value in both improving normal fetoplacental growth and perhaps preventing and/or treating a variety of disorders of fetoplacental growth," the authors postulate.

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