Regular exercise during the first trimester of pregnancy may reduce the risk of gestational diabetes, but being physically active for the mother-to-be has other important benefits. If a woman moves a lot, she literally helps her child breathe, scientists say.
A new study by scientists from the University of the Society was presented during the congress of the European Respiratory Society (ERS), reports Medscape.
To assess the relationship between physical activity during pregnancy and lung function in infants, the team used data from the PreventADALL population study on the prevalence of atopic dermatitis in children in Norway and Sweden. The new study included spirometry data (measurements of the volume of air inhaled and exhaled) of 814 babies three months old. Scientists also analyzed data on physical activity of mothers at 18 weeks of gestation.
Overall, 5.8% of children in this cohort had decreased lung function. Of these, 8.6% of infants were born to mothers who maintained low physical activity during pregnancy. At the same time, among the children of active mothers, such children were 4.2%. In addition, in this group of children, the highest indicators of respiratory function were noted.
“Previous research has shown that people with low lung function in infancy have an increased risk of asthma and other obstructive respiratory diseases. The potential link between maternal inactivity and low lung function in infancy reinforces the importance of counseling pregnant women about physical activity, ”said study lead author Dr. Hrefna Katrin Gudmundsdottir.