Study: chances of pregnancy increase with walking

(Western Mass News photo)

Women planning to get pregnant may want to invest in a good pair of sneakers and consider adding walking into their routine.

New research being conducted at UMass Amherst points to exercise as a possible path to motherhood.

Brian Whitcomb, professor of epidemiology at UMass Amherst, said that a recent study suggests there's a correlation between the two. "It would be a suggestion that women trying to become pregnant and who have a history of pregnancy loss may benefit from some benefit of walking," Whitcomb said.

As part of a national research project, 1,200 women - ages 18 to 40 - across the country answered in-depth questionnaires and attended regular clinic visits over the course of six months to monitor their behaviors while trying to become pregnant.

Overall, the study focused on the use of aspirin during pregnancy, but Whitcomb and graduate student Lindsey Russo looked at physical activity.

"We looked at different intensity activities and different duration of activities, as well as sedentary behavior and we looked at women who were both normal weight and those who were overweight and obese," Whitcomb added.

Whitcomb told Western Mass News that the data indicates women who incorporate a small amount of activity everyday have a better chance of getting pregnant.

"It's a bout of exercise as one that lasts for at least 10 minutes, so this is what we were collecting for any of the physical activities," Whitcomb explained.

That includes, moderate, vigorous, or low-impact activity like walking and it had the greatest impact on women who were overweight.

"Amongst the women who reported doing walking and were overweight or obese, there was greater likelihood in becoming pregnant," Whitcomb said.

The results didn't positively or negatively affect women of normal weights, but Whitcomb said that's a good thing.

"In some ways, that would suggest folks who are exercising could continue to exercise and it wouldn't have any negative impact in becoming pregnant," Whitcomb noted.

The study will now look at women staying pregnant, but until those results are in - if you're looking to conceive, walking is a step in the right direction.

Copyright 2018 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


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