ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
The Zen Way to Pain Relief
Higher Vitamin D Intake Could Cut Cancer Risk
ANIMAL CARE
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Safe Toys for Dogs
Beware of Dog Bites
BONES & JOINTS
Autumn Sees More Women With Bunion Problems
Soccer's a Winner for Building Bone Health in Girls
New Clues to How Fish Oils Help Arthritis Patients
CANCER
Method for Treating Cervical Lesions May Pose Pregnancy Risks
More Americans Urged to Get Cancer Screenings
Vitamin C Shows Promise as Cancer Treatment
CAREGIVING
Stressed Health Care Workers Battle 'Compassion Fatigue'
Exercise During Pregnancy May Help Baby
Mom's Smoking May Lead to SIDS
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Salt Boosts Blood Pressure in High-Risk Patients
Migraines in Pregnancy Boost Vascular Risks
Exercise May Blunt Salt's Effect on Hypertension
COSMETIC
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
DENTAL, ORAL
Gum Disease Might Boost Cancer Risk
Most Insured Adults Worry About Health Care Costs: Poll
A Sweet Way to Shield Baby's Teeth
DIABETES
Spices, Herbs Boost Health for Diabetics
Chamomile Tea May Ward Off Diabetes Damage
Fructose-Sweetened Drinks Up Metabolic Syndrome Risk
DIET, NUTRITION
Fruits, Vegetables, Teas May Cut Smokers' Cancer Risk
TV Food Ads Promote Bad Diets
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
U.S. Diet Needs Heart-Felt Overhaul
Common Pesticide Tied to Development Delays in Kids
Rainy Areas in U.S. Show Higher Autism Rates
EYE CARE, VISION
Half of U.S. Adults Lack 20/20 Vision
Diabetic Eye Disease Rates Soaring
Sports Eye Injuries Leading Cause of Blindness in Youths
FITNESS
Any Exercise Good After a Heart Attack
Early Exercise Boosts Outcomes for ICU Patients
Vigorous Exercise Can Cut Breast Cancer Risk
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
GENERAL HEALTH
Afternoon Nap Might Make You Smarter
Swine Flu Fatality Rate a 'Little Bit' Higher Than That of Seasonal Flu
New Methods Could Speed Production of Flu Vaccines
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Most Fast-Food French Fries Cooked in Unhealthiest Oil
A Little Chocolate May Do the Heart Good
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Should Your Child Be Seeing a Chiropractor?
Older People at Greater Risk of Swine Flu Death
Mom's Extra Pregnancy Pounds May Raise Child's Heart Risks
MEN'S HEALTH
Lots of Sex May Prevent Erectile Dysfunction
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
Eating Fast Until Full Triples Overweight Risk
MENTAL HEALTH
Man's Best Friend Helps Mend Broken Hearts
Brain Scans Show How Humans 'Hear' Emotion
Teen Internet Addicts More Likely to Self-Harm: Study
PAIN
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Acupuncture May Relieve Acid Indigestation In Pregnancy
Yoga's Benefits Outweigh Risks for Pregnant Women
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
SENIORS
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
Exercise Helps Reduce Falls in Young and Old
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Omega-3 May Reduce Endometriosis Risk
Active Young Women Need Calcium, Vitamin D
A Brisk Pace May Keep Stroke at Bay
Add your Article

Exercise During Pregnancy Keeps Newborn Size Normal

(HealthDay News) -- Along with keeping mom healthy, regular exercise during pregnancy helps prevent excessive newborn weight, a new study shows.

Published in the October issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the Norwegian researchers found that the odds of delivering a too-big baby dropped by as much as 28 percent in women who exercised regularly in their second and third trimesters during their first pregnancy.

"Women often adopt healthier habits before and during pregnancy, like stopping caffeine use. This study suggests that adding exercise to that list may be icing on the cake," said Dr. Robert Welch, chairman of obstetrics and gynecology at Providence Hospital in Southfield, Mich.

Known medically as fetal macrosomia, a heavier birth weight poses a risk to both the baby and the mother. If a baby weighs more than 8.8 pounds, the risk of delivery problems, C-sections, postpartum hemorrhage and low Apgar scores all increase, according to background information in the study. Larger birth weights have also been associated with an increased risk of obesity later in life, according to the researchers.

The study also reported that the number of too-big babies appears to be on the rise, while the number of women exercising during pregnancy is on the decline.

To measure what effect regular exercise has on newborn weight, the Norwegian researchers reviewed data from the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort study. That database included information on nearly 37,000 women, whose pregnancies lasted at least 37 weeks.

All of the women were pregnant with one child. Two-thirds of the women were normal weight, and 20 percent were overweight, but not obese.

Exercise information was gathered at weeks 17 and 30 of the pregnancies. In women who'd never been pregnant before, 43 percent said they exercised three times a week or more before pregnancy. In women who'd previously been pregnant, 32 percent said they exercised three times a week or more.

By the 30th week of pregnancy, 25 percent reported never exercising, and 19 percent said they exercised one to three times a month. Twenty-nine percent reported exercising one to two times weekly, while 24 percent said they were exercising three or more times each week.

Pre-pregnancy exercise didn't seem to make a difference in a baby's birth weight, but exercise during pregnancy did. In women who'd never been pregnant before, those who were exercising at least three times a week had a 28 percent reduced risk of a large birth weight baby, while those who were still regularly exercising at 30 weeks had a 23 percent decreased risk of having a too-big baby.

The effects of exercise didn't appear to be as consistently beneficial in women who'd already had children. When these women danced or participated in low-impact aerobics, they also reduced the likelihood of delivering a large baby, but when they swam or trained in fitness centers, the benefit disappeared.

Although the study wasn't able to address why this was so, Dr. Steven Allen, chairman of obstetrics and gynecology at Scott & White Healthcare in Temple, Texas, said it may be that this may be a risk factor that's less modifiable in subsequent pregnancies, or "they may not have had enough exercise."

Allen said that while exercise during pregnancy is definitely a good idea, these findings might be different if done with a different population. For example, American women are likely more ethnically diverse and have different average body-mass index levels.

But, in any case, Allen said, "Exercise should be encouraged for everyone who's healthy enough to do it. Exercise shouldn't be discontinued just because you're pregnant."

Allen added that research in the United States has also shown that women who exercise are less likely to have preterm deliveries.

Welch cautioned that as women progress in pregnancy, they should avoid any exercise that has them lay flat on their back, because this can restrict blood flow to both baby and mom. Also, contact sports are out, as is anything where falling might be likely, such as horseback riding.

He said he tells his patients to keep their heart rate to no more than 120 beats per minute during exercise. This allows you to get an aerobic workout, but isn't so much that it might shunt blood away from the baby, Welch explained.

SOURCES: Robert Welch, M.D., chairman, obstetrics and gynecology, Providence Hospital, Southfield, Mich.; Steven Allen, M.D., chairman, obstetrics and gynecology, Scott & White Healthcare, Temple, Texas; October 2009 Obstetrics and Gynecology Published on: September 21, 2009