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Could exercise decrease risk for developing a hypertensive disorder of pregnancy?

Effects of Supervised Exercise on the Development of Hypertensive Disorders of Pregnancy: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Exercise is recommended to support a healthy pregnancy when determined safe by a patient’s healthcare provider Research has shown in non-pregnant persons that supervised exercise can be more beneficial compared to unsupervised exercise. Researchers for this article asked the question: can supervised exercise during pregnancy reduce the risk of having a hypertensive disorder of pregnancy (including preeclampsia)? To answer this question, the researchers combined data across 16 studies of women in supervised exercise programs and looked at how many participants developed a hypertensive disorder of pregnancy during the studies. When combining all the data, the database had about 3,000 pregnant persons in supervised exercise programs and about 3,000 pregnant persons either not exercising at all or doing exercise on their own (unsupervised). The analysis showed that the odds of a hypertensive disorder of pregnancy was 46% lower in the supervised exercise group compared to those in the no/unsupervised exercise group.

Take home message: Analyses like this that combine data across multiple studies are called meta-analysis studies and are considered the highest level of scientific evidence available. This is a strong study that shows benefits of supervised exercise in reducing a person’s risk for a hypertensive disorder of pregnancy, including preeclampsia. 

Link: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35160245/

Citation: Danielli M, Gillies C, Thomas RC, Melford SE, Baker PN, Yates T, Khunti K, Tan BK. Effects of Supervised Exercise on the Development of Hypertensive Disorders of Pregnancy: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. J Clin Med. 2022 Feb 1;11(3):793. doi: 10.3390/jcm11030793. PMID: 35160245; PMCID: PMC8836524

About Research Roundup

Each quarter, our team of researchers reviews the most current studies related to hypertensive disorders of pregnancy and selects those studies they feel will be of greatest interest to our community to summarize.

Special thanks to our volunteer research team, who under the leadership of Dr. Elizabeth Sutton, make Research Roundup possible: Alisse Hauspurg, MD Felicia LeMoine, MD Jenny Sones, PhD, DVM, and Robin Trupp, PhD, RN.

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