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A program of exercise throughout pregnancy. Is it safe to mother and newborn?

Ruben Barakat, Maria Perales, Mariano Bacchi, Javier Coteron, Ignacio Refoyo
American Journal of Health Promotion: AJHP 2014, 29 (1): 2-8

PURPOSE: The aim of the present study was to examine the influence of a program of moderate physical exercise throughout pregnancy on maternal and fetal parameters.

DESIGN: The study design was a randomized controlled trial.

SETTING: The study took place at the Hospital of Fuenlabrada in Madrid, Spain.

SAMPLE: Analyzed were 200 pregnant women (31.54 ± 3.86 years), all of whom had uncomplicated and singleton gestation. Of these subjects, 107 were allocated to the exercise group (EG) and 93 to the control group (CG).

INTERVENTION: Women from EG participated in a physical conditioning program throughout pregnancy, which included a total of 55- to 60-minute weekly sessions, 3 days per week.

MEASURES: Pregnancy outcomes. Maternal: gestational age, weight gain, type of delivery, blood pressure during pregnancy, gestational diabetes (n/%). Fetal: birth weight, birth size, head circumference, Apgar score, pH of umbilical cord.

ANALYSIS: Student's unpaired t-test and χ (2) test were used; p values of ≤ .05 indicated statistical significance. Cohen's d was used to determine the effect size.

RESULTS: There were significantly more pregnant women in the CG who gained excessive weight during their pregnancies than in the EG group (CG: N = 31, 35.6% versus N = 22, 21.2%; χ(2) = 4.95; p =.02). The effect size was small (Phi value =.16). Other pregnancy outcome showed no differences between groups.

CONCLUSION: A regular and moderate physical exercise program throughout pregnancy is not a risk to maternal and fetal well-being, and it helps to control excessive weight gain.


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