Women who exercise and remain fit during their pregnancy are more likely to give birth to babies with healthy hearts, a joint study conducted by American and German researchers reveals.
Researchers at California State University and the University of Greifswald conducted their study on a group of pregnant swine which were made to run on treadmill for between 20 and 45 minutes five days per week. The exercise regimen was carried out for all of the pregnancy period except the last week of gestation.
On analyzing the samples of blood, liver and femoral arteries immediately after killing the offspring of each sex at three, five and nine months, the researchers found that the vascular smooth muscle of offspring of those who were part of the exercise regime had improved function compared pigs which did not exercise.
"We are only starting to understand how exercise during gestation influences adult offspring and disease. Results like ours may help to create guidelines enabling women to make the best decisions for them and their children by providing evidence-based health choices", lead researchers Dr Sean Newcomer and Dr Martin Bahls said.