Maternal Exercise During Pregnancy

Enhanced Neonatal Health and Neonatal Cardiac Effect Developmentally

AHA and ACSM recognize lack of exercise is a major risk factor for developing cardiovascular disease (CVD), and other CVD risk factors such as obesity. It is important to note that CVD is the sixth leading cause of death and children are more likely to be undiagnosed due to their age and lack of symptoms. Further, according to the CDC, over one-third of children and adolescents are overweight or obese and at increased risk of CVD. Although many programs for children aim to decrease CVD risks and obesity few, if any, programs begin the intervention during prenatal development. Our preliminary findings suggest that regular maternal exercise improves cardiovascular health (lower heart rate, increased heart rate variability), normalizes body fat composition, and improves nervous system and motor tone even after birth. Norepinephrine is essential for fetal development, influences many tissues (heart, nerve cells, skeletal muscle, and fat cells), and can stimulate growth factors. It is believed that exercise hormones, such as norepinephrine, released during maternal exercise influence these growth factors during development. The central hypothesis of this proposal is that regular maternal exercise during pregnancy will improve the health of offspring before and after birth as evidenced by lower resting heart rate, increasing heart rate variability improved neurological maturation, and decreased adiposity. We have three specific aims to test this hypothesis through the Enhanced Neonatal Health and Neonatal Cardiovascular Efficiency Developmentally (ENHANCED) by Mom project (IRB approved #12-002524). Aim 1 will establish the association between maternal exercise during pregnancy and the heart health of offspring before and after birth. Aim 2 will determine the relationship between modes of regular maternal exercise and neonate neurological and muscular maturation as this relates to health of the child after birth. Aim 3 will elucidate the influence of different modes of maternal exercise during pregnancy on fetal and infant body composition as this relates to risk of obesity and CVD disease. These studies will provide novel insight into how different types of maternal exercise during pregnancy influence the overall health of offspring. Furthermore, these findings may have significant implications on the public health as it may provide evidence of pregnancy as the earliest intervention for attenuating cardiovascular disease risk of children.

No pharmaceutical medication involved
Patients and healthy individuals accepted

Behavioral - Aerobic Exercise training

Enhanced Neonatal Health and Neonatal Cardiac Effect Developmentally