Within the United States, maternal obesity is a growing public health concern that has serious implications for both the mother and newborn. In 2019, pre-pregnancy obesity had reached an all-time high at 29% prevalence. Lack of exercise, poor diet, minimal sleep, chronic stress, and family history are possible risk factors for obesity. Maternal obesity is associated with gestational hypertension and diabetes, preeclampsia and delivery complications. Exercise has been shown to be a successful intervention in reducing negative health outcomes for the mother. However, the effect of exercise interventions during pregnancy on newborn health is less known and under studied. Four hundred eleven articles were screened by title and abstract from PubMed and SCOPUS to select eligible articles for this rapid review. A total of four final articles were included based on strict inclusion and exclusion criteria. Data was extracted on newborn birthweight and abdominal circumference as the two birth outcomes of interest. Results from this review are mixed. One of the four studies found positive effects on infant birthweight and abdominal circumference among women randomized to the exercise intervention arm. The remaining three studies did not find significant relationships. Limited studies exist that design exercise-only interventions whereas most studies use exercise in conjunction with diet or weight control measures. Findings from this review helped reveal gaps in the existing literature. Further research is needed to determine the effect of exercise alone during pregnancy on newborn health among obese pregnant women.
Corkum, Abigail, "The Effect of Exercise Interventions In Obese Pregnant Women on Infant Birth Outcomes: A Rapid Review" (2021). Master of Public Health Capstone Presentations. Presentation 403.