A new study, reported in the New York Times, says that regular exercise during pregnancy can lead to a small reduction in the baby’s weight. In a randomized trial of 84 first-time mothers, participants were placed in either an exercise or a control group. Those in the exercise group rode stationary bikes for 40 minutes five days a week, while the others maintained regular activity; those who were exercising started in the 20th week of their pregnancy and kept going until at least week 36. Among mothers who didn’t exercise, babies were an average of five ounces heavier than those born to women who exercised during pregnancy, suggesting that moderate, regular aerobic exercise can affect a baby’s birth weight positively without putting the child or mother at risk.
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