Exercise does a body good-two bodies, in fact, when the one exercising is a pregnant woman. A new study shows that when a mom-to-be works out, her fetus reaps cardiac benefits.

The findings were presented at the Experimental Biology 2008 annual meeting in San Diego, California.

The Study

Ten women participated in the study. Five women were exercisers and the other five were not. Fetal movements, such as breathing and body and mouth movements, were monitored and recorded from 24 weeks into pregnancy to term.

The Results

The researchers found significantly lower heart rates among fetuses that had been exposed to maternal exercise throughout the study period. The heart rates among the fetuses not exposed to exercise were higher, regardless of the fetal activity or the gestational age.


"This study suggests that a mother who exercises may not only be imparting health benefits to her own heart, but to her developing baby's heart as well. As a result of this pilot study, we plan to continue the study to include more pregnant women," said study co-author Linda E. May, of the Department of Anatomy at Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences.

Exercise May Help Prevent Fibroids

Benign uterine tumors, fibroids may cause infertility, bleeding and pain, are the leading cause of hysterectomies in the US.

Recent finding: Women who do recreational exercise or walk seven or more hours a week are less likely to develop fibroids than sedentary women.

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