Exercising is known to improve quality of life in pregnant women and help them to regain their pre-pregnancy bodies after giving birth.
New evidence shows that women who exercise during pregnancy may be protecting their babies from the risk of developing high blood pressure later in life.
Low birth weight is considered to be an important factor that increases a person's risk of developing hypertension later in life. In the new study, a team of researchers from the Michigan State University found that getting enough exercise during pregnancy helped suspend certain negative effects associated with being born small.
"We looked at a range of normal birth weight babies, some falling at the lower end of the scale, and surprisingly we found that this lower birth weight and higher blood pressure relationship in these offspring is not supported if the women were physically active," lead author of the study James Pivarnik, said in a statement. "The connection was disrupted, indicating that exercise may in some way alter cardiovascular risk that occurs in utero."
James Pivarnik and colleagues based their study on the fetal origins hypothesis, a theory that upholds the importance of keeping a pregnant woman happy during pregnancy. According to the theory, any strenuous event during the critical growth periods of pregnancy can lead to permanent changes in the baby's health.
During the five-year-study, researchers looked at 51 women and monitored their physical exercises during and after pregnancy. Exercising in pregnancy, particularly during the third trimester, was highly beneficial for preventing hypertension in children.
Tests conducted at ages eight to 10 showed that systolic blood pressure in children was comparatively low when their mothers exercised during pregnancy.
"This is a good thing as it suggests that the regular exercise habits of the mother are good for heart health later in a child's life," Pivarnik said.
Previous research has shown that mom-to-be, who exercised at least 20 minutes, thrice a week helped improve baby's brain development.
Remaining active during pregnancy can also help avoid many pregnancy-related discomforts and make it a delightful experience. According to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, exercising for 30 minutes every day can protect expecting moms against backaches, bloating, constipation, gestational diabetes; also help improve quality of sleep and mood.