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Expectant Moms Can Cut Child's Hypertension Risk by Exercising

Update Date: Jan 05, 2015 08:08 PM EST

Exercise can help expectant moms lower their children's risk of developing hypertension, according to a new study.

New research from Michigan State University revealed that women could significantly cut their children's chance of high blood pressure by engaging in healthy exercise habits during pregnancy. Researchers said that the latest findings are important because children with low birth weight are more likely to suffer high blood pressure, and poor cardiovascular health.

"We looked at a range of normal birth weight babies, some falling at the lower end of the scale, and surprisingly we found that this lower birth weight and higher blood pressure relationship in these offspring is not supported if the women were physically active," lead author James Pivarnik, a kinesiology professor at MSU, said in a news release. "The connection was disrupted, indicating that exercise may in some way alter cardiovascular risk that occurs in utero."

The latest study involved 51 women who had their exercise habits documented during pregnancy and post pregnancy. The latest study revealed a strong link between exercising during pregnancy to lower blood pressure in children. Researchers noted that this was particularly true when women exercised in their third trimester.

"This told us that exercise during critical developmental periods may have more of a direct effect on the baby," Pivarnik explained.

"This is a good thing as it suggests that the regular exercise habits of the mother are good for heart health later in a child's life," he concluded.

The findings are published in The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness.

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