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Study – Babies of Moms Who Exercise Born Lighter

By bethanysanders |

963183_90296151Despite the adorable rolls and cuddly chub, studies show that babies who are big at birth are at a higher risk of obesity later in life.

But a recent study found that there’s a relatively easy way for expectant mothers to keep their baby’s weight in check:  daily, moderate exercise.

Expert aren’t exactly sure why it works, but there appears to be a link.  Eighty-four women pregnant for the first time were assigned to one of two groups.  One group exercised on an exercise bike for 40 minutes up to five times a week, the other group served as the control.  The women exercised up until their 36th week of pregnancy.

When the women delivered, researchers discovered that the babies of the women who exercised were lighter (an average of 143 grams) and had a lower BMI than babies of the moms who did not workout regularly.

“Our findings show that regular aerobic exercise alters the maternal environment in some way that has an impact on nutrient stimulation of fetal growth, resulting in a reduction in offspring birth weight,” study co-author Dr. Paul Hofman said in a news release, reports HealthDay. “Given that large birth size is associated with an increased risk of obesity, a modest reduction in birth weight may have long-term health benefits for offspring by lowering this risk in later life.”

Interestingly, the exercise had no effect on the mother’s weight gain, BMI, or insulin resistance, but maintaining a regular workout during pregnancy — if approved by your doctor — is a great way to stay in good physical shape for labor.

Photo: Simona Balint,

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0 thoughts on “Study – Babies of Moms Who Exercise Born Lighter

  1. PlumbLucky says:

    Interesting…I worked out (doctor strongly recommended, actually, in my case due to my particular circumstances) on a near daily basis til about week 37, then switched to at least a walk every day til, well, the night before I went in. Babe was a nice, average weight.
    Ahhh…the looks I got in Zumba class this time around ;-) . (And yes, my doctor was aware of the nature of the class and approved it)

  2. meh says:

    Me, too…I worked out quite a bit to the point that my midwife told me to chill out, work out less and eat more, for the last couple weeks. My baby was 7lbs 15oz.

  3. Sichling says:

    Perhaps it is because I’m tired of hearing all of the obesity is so bad that it is worth dying over (higher death-rate from bariatric surgery than heart surgery), but is anyone else amused by the irony here. We’ve been working on getting heavier babies because they are more likely to live and thrive – but now they should weigh less so they won’t be obese later in life.

  4. Colleen says:

    I taught cardio kickboxing (5 times a week) until i was 8 months pregnant and then i played golf every other day, walking 9 holes. I had an 8lb baby! Working out did not make my 40hour labor any easier, but being in shape did prevent me form needing a c-section.

  5. esthermaker says:

    I did Crossfit throughout my pregnancy, and also danced, walked a lot, and did yoga. I was doing modified pushups and strength training days before I went into labor. And my baby was 9.5 lbs., at 12 days past due date. So, I don’t think this study applies across the board. I was huge in pregnancy despite my previous fitness level and continued exercise, and tested negative for gestational diabetes.

    40 minutes on a stationary bike, 5 days a week, huh? They consider that exercise? Ridiculous. Get out and cross-train, challenge yourself, or at least do varied exercises.

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