- October 24, 2013
Exercise during gestation has the potential to program vascular health in offspring into their adulthood, in particular significantly altering the vascular smooth muscle.
The current guidelines for pregnant women recommend thirty minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on most if not all days of the week. Unfortunately, not all physicians are yet convinced that exercise is beneficial for both the pregnant women and their offspring.
The results of this study provide evidence that maternal exercise during pregnancy is a powerful programming stimulus in the arteries of the offspring and that this programming may have implications for future cardiovascular disease susceptibility of the offspring.
"Our study was the first to demonstrate that maternal exercise during pregnancy significantly impacts vascular function in adult offspring."
"A second important aspect of the findings in our study is that previous research identified the endothelium, which is the single-cell layer lining all blood vessels, to be susceptible to foetal-programming interventions. Contrarily, we show that the vascular smooth muscle was significantly altered in adult offspring from exercise trained mothers."
"We are only starting to understand how exercise during gestation influences offspring adult health and disease. Results like ours may help to create guidelines enabling women to make the best decisions for them and their children by providing evidence based health choices.
"Physical activity may act through multiple pathways which depend on type, duration, intensity and frequency of the exercise regimen. Furthermore, it is essential that future research investigates the coronary circulation and also establishes what impact these reported changes in vascular function in the offspring have on cardiovascular disease susceptibility."