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Lighter babies for exercising mums

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Women who carry out aerobic exercise during pregnancy have lighter babies than those who do no exercise, a new study has revealed.

The fitness training reduces the chances of giving birth to an oversized, obesity-prone baby, while there is no evidence that their babies lacked nutrition and they were not shorter in length. A total of 84 first-time mothers took part in the trial and were randomly assigned to either an exercise group or a non-exercise “control” group.

The University of Auckland’s Dr Paul Hofman said: “Given that large birth size is associated with an increased risk of obesity, a modest reduction in birth weight may have long-term health benefits for offspring by lowering this risk in later life.”

The women taking exercise were asked to undertake a maximum of five 40-minute stationary cycling sessions per week and maintain the programme until at least the 36th week of pregnancy. All the study participants were tested for their sensitivity to insulin, the essential hormone that regulates the body’s use of sugar.

In the study, the women who exercised had babies that were on average 143 grams lighter than those of women who did not.

However moderate aerobic exercise had no impact on insulin resistance and had no effect on the body weight of women in late pregnancy.

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