Fitness could protect pregnant women against high blood pressure

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Fitness could protect pregnant women against high blood pressure

Physical fitness may provide some protection from the risk of developing preeclampsia.

Women with greater than average fitness prior to pregnancy would be less likely to develop hypertensive disorders in pregnancy.

In a new study, healthy women were recruited prior to planned pregnancy. A detailed cardiovascular assessment was performed in the non-pregnant state.

VO2 max was determined using a bicycle ergometer. Women were divided into Fit group and Unfit group based on the test.

Researchers examined the development of gestational hypertension or preeclampsia during pregnancy.

They also examined the birthweight, placental weight and gestational age at delivery.

A total of 14 Fit and 29 Unfit women were examined prior to pregnancy and subsequently conceived singleton gestations.

Groups were similar prior to pregnancy with respect to age, lean body mass and maximum heart rate achieved during VO2 max testing.

Fit women had lower BMI, lower percent body fat, lower resting heart rates and increased beta-adrenergic responsiveness as compared to non-fit women.

Both groups of women had similar blood pressure, cardiac output, plasma volume, uterine blood flow, pulse wave velocity, flow-mediated vasodilation and blood pressure response to volume challenge.

No women in the fit group developed hypertensive disorders of pregnancy. Ten women in the non-fit group developed hypertension. Birth- weight, placental weight and gestational age at delivery were similar between groups.

The researchers suggest that women with greater than average physical fitness are less likely to develop hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, despite having similar blood pressure and other cardiovascular conditions to unfit women prior to pregnancy.

These findings suggest potentially important roles of fitness in the development of hypertension in pregnancy.

Tips for fitness in pregnancy:

Follow your doctor’s advice. When it comes to pregnancy exercise, you should discuss this with your doctor or midwife.

Your doctor is going to have the most information about your personal health issues and any risks you and your baby face in the months to come.

Stay safe. If you exercised regularly up until your pregnancy, the chances are you can continue what you’re doing, unless your activity is classified as “high risk.”

If you don’t usually exercise, this is still a great time to start and your baby will definitely thank you for it. But, heed the changes your body is undergoing.

Set a routine. Once you get the go-ahead from your doctor, stick to a regular routine. Thirty minutes of daily exercise can help reduce back pain and body aches. It may also help you sleep better, improve your posture and boost your mood.

Choose the right exercise. Avoid high-risk sports and activities during pregnancy. Extreme and contact sports are out of the question – this isn’t the time for BASE jumping. Any sport where you are highly likely to fall should be postponed until after the baby is born.

Drink enough water. Hydration is always important with exercise. but it is even more so when pregnant. To maintain enough hydration for you and your baby, drink up to 1 pint of liquid before exercising and 1 cup of liquid every 20 minutes during exercise. Even if you don’t feel thirsty afterward, replenish the fluids lost during the exercise.