The Influence of Pre-Pregnancy Activity Level on Birth Weight
Current research suggests that healthy pregnant women can follow the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) exercise recommendations for the general population. Studies demonstrate that exercise during pregnancy improves maternal health and decreases her risk of disease; for example, maternal exercise lowers blood pressure, improves self-esteem and muscle function, normalizes weight gain, and decreases risk of complications during labor and delivery. Exercise during pregnancy is associated with improved pregnancy outcomes and normalized birth weight as well. Although current findings demonstrating a positive association between exercise during pregnancy and fetal health, many women who exercise during pregnancy also participated prior to pregnancy. Therefore, it is unclear if the positive fetal association is due to exercise during the pregnancy or due to the fitness and exercise of the mother prior to pregnancy. Due to this gap in knowledge, this research project will determine the association of maternal pre-pregnancy and during pregnancy exercise and its influence on birth weight. Based on current research, I hypothesize women active pre- and peri- pregnancy will have children of lower birth weights, still within the normal birth weight range, relative to the birth weight of other groups. In order to answer this question, we have recruited women to be exercise trained from 16 to 36 weeks gestation of their pregnancy. Additionally, all participants complete a modifiable physical activity questionnaire regarding their activity three months prior to pregnancy as well as during pregnancy. Based on this physical activity information, we will classify women into 4 group, as follows: women who were active pre and during pregnancy (A/A group), women who were active pre- but inactive during pregnancy (A/I), women who were inactive pre but active during pregnancy (I/A group), and the mothers who were inactive before and inactive during pregnancy (I/I or control group). All women were consented, completed questionnaire, exercise trained (or control group), and allowed us access to birth records. Alpha level was set a priori at 0.05 and multiple ANOVAs were performed to determine significant differences. There were differences in birth weight or length measures between groups, regardless of exercise prior to or during pregnancy. These data suggest exercise prior to and during pregnancy is safe and does not adversely influence growth of the fetus in utero. Exercise prior to as well as during pregnancy is safe for overall fetal growth and development.
Baker, Kellie. (January 2015). The Influence of Pre-Pregnancy Activity Level on Birth Weight (Honors Thesis, East Carolina University). Retrieved from the Scholarship. (http://hdl.handle.net/10342/4810.)
Baker, Kellie. The Influence of Pre-Pregnancy Activity Level on Birth Weight. Honors Thesis. East Carolina University, January 2015. The Scholarship. http://hdl.handle.net/10342/4810. April 24, 2019.
Baker, Kellie, “The Influence of Pre-Pregnancy Activity Level on Birth Weight” (Honors Thesis., East Carolina University, January 2015).
Baker, Kellie. The Influence of Pre-Pregnancy Activity Level on Birth Weight [Honors Thesis]. Greenville, NC: East Carolina University; January 2015.