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Some pregnant women may begin skipping trips to the gym once their bellies begin to show, either out of self-consciousness or fear that exercise will somehow harm their unborn baby.
However, researchers at the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences conducted a study which reinforces beliefs that physical activity is not just good to help keep mother in shape during pregnancy, but also helps improve baby's heart health.
"The system that controls heart function is known to improve with regular aerobic exercise, and improved heart control function is evidence of a healthy cardiovascular system and overall health," said lead researcher Linda May.
A previous pilot study from May and her team showed that 30 minutes of exercise three times per week resulted in lower fetal heart rate during the last weeks of pregnancy, which is a sign of a strong heart.
The team of scientists reinforced their earlier findings with their most recent study of 61 expecting women. Physical activities ranged from running to power walking, with some volunteers engaging in yoga and strength training.