Women can reduce the chances of their children becoming obese in later life if they exercise during pregnancy, scientists claim
Working out not only helps expectant mums stay in shape but also increases the fitness levels of unborn babies and reduces the chances of them becoming obese in later life, according to new research.
A New Zealand study of 84 first time mothers found infants born to those who exercised were an average 143 grams lighter than those of inactive mums. But the lighter babies were no shorter in length and there was no evidence they lacked nutrition.
Research head Dr Paul Hofman, from the University of Auckland, said: ‘Aerobic exercise alters the maternal environment in some way that has an impact on nutrient stimulation of foetal growth, resulting in a reduction in offspring birth weight.
‘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.’
The trial involved the women cycling for up to 40 minutes at least five times a week. They were asked to maintain the programme until the 36th week of pregnancy, with their results set against a group who did no exercise at all.