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Prenatal Development


The benefits of exercise are unquestioned. People who regularly exercise live longer for a variety of reasons. Their circulatory and respiratory systems get exercise and function more efficiently. Exercise tends to increase energy, make sex more enjoyable, decrease depression, increase self-confidence, and suppress appetite, which helps maintain an ideal weight-to-height ratio. There is also a social component to exercise (getting out of the house, being with other adults) that provides an incentive to continue. When the human body is in better condition, it can better fight off diseases, and when struck with illness, it reacts in a more positive fashion.

One longitudinal study examined the relationship between exercise and pregnancy, focusing on the levels of fatigue that women experience during childbirth and the association between fatigue and several maternal factors. The best predictors for fatigue among these women were examined. The set of possible predictors included whether the women took formal childbirth education classes, their average amount of sleep, whether they exercised during the last trimester of pregnancy, whether they worked during the last trimester of pregnancy, their anxiety level, and whether they had been medicated prior to the interview. When admitted to the hospital, the best predictors of fatigue were anxiety, amount of sleep, and medication. Two hours after admission, the best predictors were previous fatigue, medication, and work. Four hours after admission, the variables were medication, previous fatigue, exercise, and childbirth education. Six hours after admission, the predictors with the greatest influence were previous fatigue, medication, exercise, and work. Within twenty-four hours after delivery, the greatest predictor of fatigue was previous fatigue.

Although exercise in a couple of instances seemed to be associated with fatigue, for the most part it did not seem to be one of the best predictors for fatigue. Along with the other benefits mentioned earlier, it would seem that exercise helps lessen a woman's fatigue during childbirth.

Additional topics

Social Issues ReferenceChild Development Reference - Vol 6Prenatal Development - Ovum Or Germinal Stage, Embryo Stage, Fetal Stage, Prenatal Environmental Influences, Stress, Exercise - Conclusion