Pregnant women who exercise moderately in the second half of pregnancy may reduce their child's risk of obesity for a lifetime.
A University of Auckland study found that regular exercise results in a slight reduction in a baby's birth weight. That's a good thing, given that increased birth weight is associated with greater risks of developing obesity later in life.
The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, randomly assigned 84 pregnant women who were at least 20 weeks along to either the non-weight bearing exercise group or the control group. Women in the exercise group worked out on a stationary bike for up to 40 minutes five times a week. They did so until at least 36 weeks gestation.
Exercise had no effect on maternal body weight, but their offspring were on average 143 grams lighter than the control group. The study also tracked the maternal insulin resistance rate, which is key in providing nutrients to the fetus, and found that it was not significantly affected by exercise.