I have been reviewing recent studies about exercise in pregnancy because I am (hopefully) going to be working on a large research study involving pregnant women and exercise (more details on that at the end of the post).
I ran across two interesting finds:
In a large study of 90,000 births published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, it was found that any form of exercise during pregnancy reduces the risk of preterm birth. This was based on an extensive questionnaire given to pregnant women about their exercise habits. Even one hour a week of cardiovascular exercise was enough to decrease the risk of preterm birth almost 25% compared to sedentary women. And women who continued to exercise greater than 5 hours a week through their pregnancy continued to have a decreased risk (so fear not, crazy runners like me!). Not surprisingly, horsebackriding does not reduce the risk of preterm birth (and this finding makes the study even more valid in my opinion).
Juhl et al. Am J Eipdemio 2008;167:859-866
Next, a team of researchers form Kansas City University has found that aerobic exercise during pregnancy improves fetal heart health and nervous system development. This is still preliminary non-published data announced at the American Physiological Society conference in New York last month. I unfortunately do not have the details of the methods, but "moderate intenstiy" exercising pregnant women were compared with sedentary women. (more details to follow)
So, yes, I am hopefully going to be involved in a large study here in Denmark looking at many lifestyle factors in pregnancy (though I will be looking primarily at exercise) and birth outcomes, including cognitive development in children and development of asthma. This is along side of my PhD project, so I hope there is time!
We're moving into some extremely cheap hospital housing today and tomorrow, so I have to get working. I will post some pictures of our new home soon.
Running Song of the Day: Crush on You by Brakesbrakesbrakes