1 Αυγούστου 2020, Physical activity throughout pregnancy is key to preventing chronic disease - Reproduction
According to The Developmental Origins of Health and Disease theory, the intra-uterine environment of the developing fetus may impact later life physiology, including susceptibility to chronic disease conditions. Maternal exposures during pregnancy can affect the intra-uterine environment and result in fetal programming for chronic diseases through changes in the structure or function of specific organs. Negative maternal exposures, such as poor nutrition intake, have been shown to increase the risk for later life chronic diseases. On the contrary, healthful behaviors, such as physical activity, may have a positive and protective effect against chronic disease risk. This narrative review summarizes literature to discuss the potential preventative role prenatal physical activity may have on prevalent chronic diseases: obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. We describe the natural physiological response to pregnancy that may increase the risk for complications and consequently later life disease for both mother and baby. We then present evidence highlighting the role prenatal exercise may have in preventing pregnancy complications and downstream chronic disease development, as well as proposing potential mechanisms that may explain the protective maternal and fetal physiological response to exercise. As the prevalence of these non-communicable diseases increase globally, intervening during pregnancy with an effective exercise intervention may be the key to preventing chronic disease risk in more than one generation.