ExerciseHeart DiseasePregnancy

Long-term benefits of exercise during pregnancy

Compared with women who stop weight-bearing exercising during pregnancy, women who exercise are more likely to continue their exercise routine afterward and enjoy the benefits of better cardiovascular health, according to researchers at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland Ohio.

First, the details.

  • The researchers followed-up on the fitness and cardiovascular risk profile of 39 women who were initially studied before, during, and for 1 year after pregnancy 18 to 20 years ago.

And, the results.

  • Women who voluntarily maintained their exercise regimen during pregnancy continued to exercise over time at a higher level than those who stopped.
  • Benefits of long-term exercise in exercisers vs those who stopped included…
    • Less weight gain (3.4 vs 9.9 kg) (7.5 vs 21.8 lb)
    • Deposited less fat (2.2 vs 6.7 kg) (4.9 vs (14.8 lb)
    • Increased fitness
    • Lower cardiovascular risk profile

The bottom line?
The authors concluded, “Women who continue weight-bearing exercise during pregnancy maintain their long-term fitness and have a low cardiovascular risk profile in the perimenopausal period.”

Exercise is just one contribution to a healthy life. In this study, the researchers observed that many factors, in addition to exercise, contributed to cardiovascular health.

11/23/08 18:4 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.