(HealthDay News) – The safety of exercise during pregnancy according to existing public health guidelines has been reaffirmed for both mothers and their fetuses, according to research published in the March issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.
Linda M. Szymanski, MD, PhD, and Andrew J. Satin, MD, of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, evaluated 45 healthy pregnant women, of whom 15 did not exercise, 15 were regularly active, and 15 were highly active, to assess acute fetal response to exercise according to existing US Department of Health and Human Services guidelines. Fetal well-being was assessed using umbilical artery Doppler, fetal heart tracing and rates, and biophysical profile at rest and after the women had completed moderate (all women) or vigorous (only active women) intensity treadmill workouts. All assessments occurred between 28 0/7 and 32 6/7 weeks of gestation.
The researchers found that resting maternal heart rates were significantly lower and treadmill time was significantly longer in the highly active group compared with regularly active and nonexercise groups. For all groups, fetal umbilical artery Doppler indices were similar before and after moderate exercise. For regularly and highly active women who underwent vigorous exercise, Doppler indices were similar between the groups and decreased significantly after exercise.
“In conclusion, health care providers should feel more reassured that pregnant women can exercise during pregnancy when following existing exercise recommendations,” the authors write. “Importantly, we did not identify any adverse acute fetal responses to current exercise recommendations.”