Pregnant? Exercise all you like
Exercise during pregnancy, while healthy for both mother and baby, has only a minor impact on an infant's birth weight.
On the other hand, the findings confirm a strong association between being heavy prior to becoming pregnant and having a heavier baby, Caroline Fleten of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health in Oslo, and colleagues report.

Fleten and colleagues evaluated associations between exercise during pregnancy, pre-pregnancy weight and the baby's weight at birth for 43,705 women aged 15 to 49 years old and pregnant with a single foetus.

They determined body mass index (BMI), a standard measure of how fat or thin a person is. On average, pre-pregnancy BMI of the women in the study was 24. For reference, a BMI of 25 or higher is considered overweight, while a BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese.

Fleten's team found that each single unit increase in mothers' pre-pregnancy BMI was associated with about 20 grams (0.70 ounces) heavier weight at birth. As an example, an increase in BMI of 5 units - 29 versus 24 for example - would result in a birth weight increase of 103 grams (3.63 ounces).

The women reported brisk walking, jogging, bicycling, aerobics, fitness or weight training, or other physical activities an average of 6 times a month during the first 17 weeks of pregnancy and then 4 times a month until week 30.

The average weight of infants at birth was 3,677 grams (about 8 pounds) and, according to the investigators, exercise during pregnancy had no significant effect on birth weight.

"Exercise during pregnancy cannot be used as a means of 'normalizing' birth weight," Fleten commented in an email to Reuters Health.

She and her colleagues suggest that health care professionals focus on preventing or treating overweight and obesity in women of childbearing age, which would reduce the risk of giving birth to a baby weighing too much.

Read Parent24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Everything from parties to pre-schools in your area.

Jobs - Find your dream job

Reporting Accountant

Cape Town
Network Finance Professional / Prudential
R310 000.00 - R360 000.00 Per Year

Java Developer

Network IT Recruitment
R450 000.00 - R500 000.00 Per Month

Financial Manager

Communicate Recruitment: Finance 3
R750 000.00 - R800 000.00 Per Month

Property - Find a new home