OBJECTIVE—The objective of the study was to test the null hypothesis that continuing vigorous weight-bearing exercise throughout pregnancy has no discernible long-term effect on indices of fitness and/or cardiovascular risk.
STUDY DESIGN—This was a follow-up observational study of the fitness and cardiovascular risk profile of 39 women conducted on the General Clinical Research Center at the University of Vermont. Data were analyzed using the paired Student t test, analysis of variance, and linear regression.
RESULTS—Women who voluntarily maintain their exercise regimen during pregnancy continue to exercise over time at a higher level than those who stop. Over time they also gain less weight (3.4 vs 9.9 kg), deposit less fat (2.2 vs 6.7 kg), have increased fitness, and have a lower cardiovascular risk profile than those who stop.
CONCLUSION—Women who continue weight-bearing exercise during pregnancy maintain their long-term fitness and have a low cardiovascular risk profile in the perimenopausal period.
Keywords: cardiovascular risk; exercise; fitness; pregnancy