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Moms-to-Be, Reduce Hypertension With Exercise

Moms-to-Be, Reduce Hypertension With Exercise

Kerry Walsh Jennings was pregnant with her third child when she won her third gold medal in volleyball during the 2012 London Olympics. Her husband jokes that she gets a gold medal for every baby.

Moms to-be everywhere should take a page out of Jennings’ playbook. A study done in Spain, led by Western University in London, Ontario, reveals that exercising when pregnant—and you don’t need to train like an Olympic athlete—is effective for fighting off high blood pressure (HBP). HBP affects up to 10 percent of all pregnant women and triggers preeclampsia and eclampsia that are a threat to mother and fetus. HBP is also associated with long-term maternal risk of heart disease.

The women in the study did 50 to 55 minutes of aerobic, strength and flexibility exercises three times a week from weeks 9 to 11 to weeks 38 to 39. And the workouts did more than battle hypertension: The study showed pregnant women who didn’t exercise were one and a half times more likely to gain excess weight and two and a half times more likely to deliver a baby that was oversize.

So, if you’re pregnant or planning on it, get an exercise okay from your doc. Dr. Mike’s Wellness Institute at the Cleveland Clinic has shared medical appointments for pregnant women that teach stress management, nutrition and cooking and appropriate physical activity. Check for such programs in your area to help you avoid long-term health risks to yourself and your children.

Medically reviewed in December 2018.

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