The influence of exercise during pregnancy on racial/ethnic health disparities and birth outcomes

Madigan J. Raper, Samantha McDonald, Carol Johnston, Christy Isler, Edward Newton, Devon Kuehn, David Collier, Nicholas T. Broskey, Adrienne Muldrow, Linda E. May
2021 BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth  
Background Non-Hispanic black (NHB) pregnant women disproportionately experience adverse birth outcomes compared to Non-Hispanic white (NHW) pregnant women. The positive effects of prenatal exercise on maternal and neonatal health may mitigate these disparities. This study evaluated the influence of prenatal exercise on racial/ethnic disparities in gestational age (GA), birthweight (BW), and risks of preterm birth (PTB), cesarean section (CS), and low-birthweight (LBW) neonates. Methods This
more » ... dy performed a secondary data analysis using data from a 24-week, two-arm exercise intervention trial (ENHANCED by Mom). Women with singleton pregnancies (< 16 weeks), aged 18–40 years, BMI between 18.5–34.99 kg/m2, and no preexisting health conditions were eligible. The aerobic exercisers (EX) participated in 150 min of moderate-intensity weekly exercise while non-exercising controls (CON) attended low-intensity stretching/breathing sessions. Data on GA, PTB (< 37 weeks), BW, LBW (< 2.5 kg), and delivery mode were collected. Poisson, median and linear regressions were performed. Results Participants with complete data (n = 125) were eligible for analyses (EX: n = 58, CON: n = 67). NHB pregnant women delivered lighter neonates (β = − 0.43 kg, 95% CI: − 0.68, − 0.18, p = 0.001). After adjusting for prenatal exercise, racial/ethnic disparities in BW were reduced (β = − 0.39 kg, 95% CI: − 0.65, − 0.13, p = 0.004). Prenatal exercise reduced borderline significant racial/ethnic disparities in PTB (p = 0.053) and GA (p = 0.07) with no effects found for CS and LBW. Conclusions The findings of this study demonstrate that prenatal exercise may attenuate the racial/ethnic disparities observed in neonatal BW, and possibly GA and PTB. Larger, diverse samples and inclusion of maternal biomarkers (e.g., cytokines) are encouraged to further evaluate these relationships.
doi:10.1186/s12884-021-03717-5 pmid:33771102 fatcat:wug2ajo5qbbsnnxgeztkicei5i