Maternal Physical Activity During Pregnancy and the Effect on the Mother and Newborn: A Systematic Review

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Background: The practice of physical exercise during pregnancy has benefits for both the mother and baby. Currently, there is scientific evidence that supports the inclusion of a monitored physical activity program in the daily activities of pregnant women. The objective of this study is to provide an overview of the current status of the association between physical activity during pregnancy and the effects on the mother and the newborn. Methods: A systematic review of the literature, assessing each study using the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network, from different databases PubMed, Embase, or ScienceDirect, on the association between maternal physical activity and its effects on the mother and the newborn published from 2010 until 2018 was conducted. Results: About 25 studies were identified and divided into categories according to the health problems affecting the mother or newborn. It was found that 8% of all the studies received a grade B, 68% obtained a grade C, and the remaining 24% obtained less than a grade C. Improved cardiovascular function, decreased risk of gestational diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and the limitation of weight gain are among the benefits to the mother with lower percentage of body fat, increased gestational age, and potentially improved neurodevelopment as benefits for the child. Conclusions: The realization of physical activity during pregnancy is supported by most of the studies reviewed. However, given the vulnerability of the studied populations, more studies on the association between physical activity and pregnancy are necessary.

Morales-Suárez-Varela, Peraita-Costa, Llopis-Morales, and Llopis-González are with the Area of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, Food Sciences, Toxicology and Legal Medicine, Faculty of Pharmacy, Universitat de València, Burjassot, Valencia, Spain. Morales-Suárez-Varela, Peraita-Costa, and Llopis-González are also with the CIBER in Epidemiology and Public Health (CIBERESP), Madrid, Madrid, Spain. Clemente-Bosch is with the IES Federica Montseny, Burjassot, Valencia, Spain. Martínez is with the Department of Nursing, Faculty of Nursing and Podiatry, Universitat de València, Valencia, Valencia, Spain.

Morales-Suárez-Varela (maria.m.morales@uv.es) is corresponding author.
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