Exercise during pregnancy improves the health of the child in the first years of life


A work in which researchers from the Faculty of Physical Activity and Sports Sciences of the Polytechnic University of Madrid (UPM) have participated has shown that scheduled physical exercise during pregnancy has important benefits in the child’s first years of life and in the mother’s health.

“A relevant and comprehensive fact such as the process of pregnancy and childbirth can be decisive for the future life of mother and child. This is due to the large quantity and quality of changes that this period causes in all areas of the female body and also in fetal life, “explains Rubén Barakat, researcher of the INEF-UPM Physical-Sports Activity in Specific Populations (AFIPE) group and one of the authors of this work.

The influence of the mother’s state of health on that of the baby is not only positive. “Some alterations, especially those of a metabolic nature (although not the only ones), far from being under control, have suffered a significant increase due to inadequate lifestyles and can cause damage to the health of the fetus and even newborn, damage that extend beyond the time of delivery, “explains Barakat.

The work, published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine, includes the monitoring of more than 1,300 pregnant women and their descendants up to a period of 10 years after delivery. Their newest finding focuses on demonstrating the efficacy of gestational exercise in preventing overweight and obesity during the first year of life of children and the lower incidence of maternal cardio-metabolic complications after delivery for mothers, including hypertension. or diabetes.

In addition, the secondary analyzes of this study allow us to conclude that sedentary women who decide to start an exercise program during pregnancy are those who obtain the most benefits, both for their health and that of their babies.

“These findings should boost the support of physical exercise interventions in the health field that favor the early prevention (from the same intrauterine environment) of overweight and obesity through physical exercise supervised by professionals in Physical Activity Sciences and of Sport. Intervening in a period as sensitive as pregnancy can be key to managing cardio-metabolic diseases of high prevalence and health concern, “explains María Perales, lead author of the study.

According to Ruben Barakat, “these results demonstrate, once again, the great potential of physical exercise designed and developed by professionals in a population of great interest such as pregnant women, and at the same time lays the foundation for the care and improvement of health of future populations. “

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