Measuring success: Exercise during pregnancy

January 24, 2011

As the medical community uncovers more evidence of the benefits of exercise during pregnancy, a Michigan State University researcher is looking to pinpoint the most reliable and valid ways to assess physical activity in pregnant women.

Determining the accuracy of several popular physical activity measurement tools during pregnancy and postpartum will significantly help researchers studying the health benefits of exercise during those time periods, said Jim Pivarnik of the Department of Kinesiology, who is leading the study.

“The health care community has undergone a dramatic change when it comes to pregnancy and exercise,” said Pivarnik, who has been studying the topic for more than two decades. “As more research shows physical activity helps decrease the number of pregnancy-related maladies as well as future chronic disease risk, we need to make sure we use the best measurement tools available.”

While newer research points to the benefits of exercise during pregnancy, the type, intensity and amount of physical activity that is most beneficial is unknown, Pivarnik said. Part of that uncertainty is that physical activity measurement tools used during pregnancy have been imprecise.

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