Water aerobics can be a safe form of exercise for pregnant women, study findings confirm.
No scientific data shows any concrete detrimental effect from moderate, water-based physical exercise to the mother or the fetus, Dr. Jose G. Cecatti and colleagues report in the journal Reproductive Health.
Cecatti, of the University of Campinas in Brazil, and colleagues compared weight gain and changes in body composition, as well as pregnancy outcomes in 71 sedentary pregnant women who either did no physical exercise or participated in water aerobics.
The women were 16 to 20 weeks pregnant (all low-risk pregnancies) and had similar general characteristics when they enrolled in the study.
Thirty-seven women remained inactive throughout their pregnancy. The other 34 women participated in 50 minutes of guided water aerobics at an indoor swimming pool three times weekly. These women averaged about 25 aerobic sessions each over the course of their pregnancy.
During follow-up, the investigators noted no statistically significant between-group differences in weight gain or changes in body fat; nor did they find differences in gestational age at delivery, preterm birth, or infant birth weight or vitality.
Even though this investigation failed to demonstrate any clear benefit in reduced fat mass among mothers participating in water aerobics, this study clearly demonstrates the safety of water aerobics, Cecatti and colleagues conclude.
SOURCE: Reproductive Health, January 2009