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Medical study reveals that exercise during pregnancy may save children from health problems as adults

Medical study reveals that exercise during pregnancy may save from health problems as adults

A study carried out by the University of Virginia Health System has suggested that when Mums-to-be exercise during pregnancy the chances of their children developing diseases such as diabetes and other metabolic conditions as they grew older can be greatly reduced.

In fact, the summary of the study stated that, “One day soon, a woman’s first trip to the doctor after conceiving may include a prescription for an exercise program.“

medical study about pregnancy exercise for mums

Previous medical opinion suggested that maternal exercises brought many benefits to the expectant mum and baby, such as reducing risk of complications during labour and contributing to positive  healthy development of the baby. The scientists from the University of Virginia Health System wanted to take this even further and see how the result of this research affects the baby’s health even after birth and later in life.

This study was done on laboratory mice and their offspring in order to be able to determine if this has an impact on the life of the child. During this experiment some adult mice were fed food made for rodents, others were fed a fat diet to simulate obesity, before and during pregnancy. Some pregnant mice given a fat diet had access to a wheel for exercise and some did not.

The results were that parents in the fatty diet group who were obese could predispose their children to metabolic disturbances, especially male offspring of those who did not exercise and were much more likely to develop metabolic disease in the future. It also shows that the obesity of the mother is stronger than the obesity of the dad in order to develop high blood sugar and predispose the offspring (especially male offspring) to other metabolic disorders in adulthood.

Scientists were able to determine this result by examining the metabolism and “epigenetics” of adult offspring. It was found in this result that metabolic health and the activity level of certain genes had a significant difference between different groups of offspring. This then proves that obesity from parents is passed on to their children and has negative effects that last throughout their lives.

It was also noted from the results by the scientist that exercising only during pregnancy prevented a host of epigenetic changes that affect the functioning of genes in the offspring. It was also determined that maternal exercise blocked the negative effects of maternal obesity on the offspring.

According to the scientists who carried out this study: “The results provide the first evidence that maternal exercise only during pregnancy can prevent the transmission of metabolic diseases from parent to child.”

This is very positive news that validates previous medical opinions. Naturally you should check with your medical team that the type of exercise you are doing is safe and healthy – remember, that each pregnancy is different.

That said, when you are exercising in a healthy way during your pregnancy you can also imagine your child in later life reaping the benefits of this. A funny but positive thought!

If you wish to learn even more about this subject, head over to our article – 7 sound reasons why exercise plays such an important role in a healthy pregnancy.


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Gráinne Macken

This is my second visit to Merrion Fetal, I was very pleased on both occasions. Lovely quiet waiting room, appointment was on time. The 20-week scan is very detailed we enjoyed watching our baby on the large TV screen. We got some beautiful photos. The nurse was very pleasant and talked us through all the measurements and anatomy. I would highly recommend this scanning clinic.”

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I had the best experience at the Merrion Fetal Health clinic for my 20-week big scan. The staff were so friendly and so nice and the lovely lady who did my ultrasound scan was amazing. She was so thoroughgoing to absolutely everything and gave me such reassurance on how my baby was growing and developing. I would recommend any Mother to be to attend here if you are looking for a comfortable, reassuring and super pleasant experience.”

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Please let Helen know we are 18 weeks now and flying along Highly recommend!



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All articles on the blog and website are intended as information only. Please do not consider any of the information provided here as a substitute for medical advice. At all times seek medical advice directly with your own doctor and medical team.


This website was formerly Merrion Fetal Health. The clinic has undergone a rebrand and is now known as Merrion Ultrasound.