Expecting moms can exercise to manage blood pressure levels

During pregnancy, it's important that women don't just let themselves go. Although it may be tempting to give in to every food craving that pops up, excess weight gain can pose problems for the body both during pregnancy and after. For instance, women who continue to exercise during these nine months may be more likely to keep their blood pressure under control compared to those who do not participate in physical activity on a regular basis.

A new study published in the journal Hypertension found significant results when comparing pregnant rats that exercised to those that didn't. The rodents that participated in wheel running before and after pregnancy lowered their blood pressure levels.

These findings are significant because high blood pressure can lead to dangerous pregnancy complications like preeclampsia, which occurs in 5 to 8 percent of all pregnancies. In addition, the condition causes 15 percent of premature births in developed countries and kills 50,000 women globally every year, according to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

"The data from our study raise the possibility that exercise regimens, if started before pregnancy and maintained through most of gestation, may be an important way for women to mitigate the risk of preeclampsia," said study researcher Jeff Gilbert, a human physiology professor. 

Gilbert and his colleagues stated that more information still needs to be researched, such as when the best time to work out is and how much exercise is required to get significant results.

Did a healthcare provider speak with you about exercising during pregnancy? Did he or she inform you about ways you could manage your blood pressure? Let our readers know and leave your answers in the comments section!