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Effect of Exercise on Pregnancy Outcome

GAVARD, JEFFREY A. PhD; ARTAL, RAUL MD

Clinical Obstetrics & Gynecology: June 2008 - Volume 51 - Issue 2 - pp 467-480
doi: 10.1097/GRF.0b013e31816feb1d
Societal Factors in Pregnancy: Why Worry?

The purpose of this review was to critically evaluate the scientific literature for the effects of exercise on pregnancy outcome. Evidenced-based studies were reviewed. Maternal outcomes analyzed in this review were gestational diabetes mellitus, preeclampsia, and weight gain, fetal outcomes evaluated were birth weight, time of delivery, and mode of delivery. Despite methodological pitfalls in the studies published, the evidence suggests a benefit of exercise in pregnancy. Exercise in pregnancy could prevent and limit adverse maternal and fetal morbidities and provide a long-term benefit through reduction of maternal weight gain during pregnancy, and improvement in cardiovascular fitness. Pregnancy emerges as a unique time for behavior modification.

Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Women's Health, St Louis University School of Medicine, St Louis, Missouri

Correspondence: Raul Artal, MD, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Women's Health, Saint Louis University School of Medicine, 6420 Clayton Road, Suite 290, St Louis, MO 63117. E-mail: artalr@slu.edu

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.