Physical activity and maternal obesity: cardiovascular adaptations, exercise recommendations, and pregnancy outcomes

Authors

  • Michelle F Mottola

    Corresponding author
    1. R. Samuel McLaughlin Foundation – Exercise & Pregnancy Laboratory, School of Kinesiology, Faculty of Health Sciences, The University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada
    2. Department of Anatomy, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, The University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada
    • Correspondence: MF Mottola, R. Samuel McLaughlin Foundation – Exercise & Pregnancy Laboratory, The University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada N6A 3K7. E-mail: mmottola@uwo.ca. Phone: +1-519-661-2111, ext. 88366. Fax: +1-519-661-2008.

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Abstract

Although a healthy lifestyle approach is intuitive for obese pregnant women, no guidelines currently exist to manage these women throughout pregnancy. Women who are medically prescreened for contraindications can engage in a walking program three to four times per week, starting at 25 min per session and adding 2 min per week until reaching 40 min, with sessions continuing until delivery. A target heart rate of 102–124 beats per minute should be promoted for women 20–29 years of age and a rate of 101–120 beats per minute for women 30–39 years of age. A pedometer step count of 10,000 steps per day is suggested as a goal, as this level of activity provides important health benefits. Combining healthy eating with a walking plan prevents excessive weight gain during pregnancy and promotes a healthy fetal environment.

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