Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Health & Pregnancy

Font Size

Exercising Moms-to-Be May Have Less-Chubby Babies

This could benefit newborns later in life, researcher suggests


But he said these latest findings add to evidence that exercise benefits mothers-to-be and their babies.

The study included 826 Colorado women, average age 28, whose activity levels were tracked during pregnancy. Only 17 percent met the recommended guidelines on exercise. About 45 percent were overweight or obese.

In general, the researchers found, the one-quarter of women who were most active in late pregnancy tended to have less chubby babies than other mothers. Those active women were not running marathons -- most got a modest amount of exercise on most days of the week, Dabelea said.

The researchers did find that the most-active mothers had an increased risk of having a "small-for-gestational-age" newborn -- which means smaller than the norm for babies born during a given week of pregnancy.

But Dabelea attributed that to the lower level of body fat, rather than impaired growth and development in the womb.

Another ob/gyn who reviewed the study said the higher likelihood of small-for-gestational-age newborns is "a little concerning." But there's no way of knowing whether there could be negative effects in the long run.

"Is there a benefit from the lower fat mass? We don't know yet. Is there a risk from being [small-for-gestational-age] when there is no effect on lean body mass? We don't know," said Dr. Jill Rabin, co-chief of ambulatory care and women's health programs at North Shore-LIJ Health System, in New Hyde Park, N.Y.

Dabelea agreed that longer-term research is needed to see whether that lower fat mass at birth actually benefits children's health.

But what is clear, the experts said, is that a generally healthy lifestyle is vital during pregnancy and before.

"It's important to start optimizing your health before you become pregnant," Rabin said. "Eat a healthy diet, get regular exercise, take prenatal vitamins, quit smoking."

But even if a woman was sedentary before, it's safe to start exercising during pregnancy, Fernandez said. Women can ask their doctors about the types of exercise that are appropriate, he said. In general, activities such as walking, swimming and cycling are suggested.

1 | 2

Pregnancy Week-By-Week Newsletter

Delivered right to your inbox, get pictures and facts on
what to expect each week of your pregnancy.

Today on WebMD

hand circling date on calendar
Track your most fertile days.
woman looking at ultrasound
Week-by-week pregnancy guide.
Pretty pregnant woman timing contaction pains
The signs to watch out for.
pregnant woman in hospital
Are there ways to do it naturally?
slideshow fetal development
pregnancy first trimester warning signs
What Causes Bipolar
Woman trying on dress in store
pregnant woman
Close up on eyes of baby breastfeeding
healthtool pregnancy calendar
eddleman prepare your body pregnancy