Maternal Exercise during Pregnancy Impacts Motor Performance in 9-Year-Old Children: A Pilot Study

Nina Ferrari, Nikola Schmidt, Inga Bae-Gartz, Christina Vohlen, Miguel A Alejandre Alcazar, Konrad Brockmeier, Jörg Dötsch, Esther Mahabir, Christine Joisten

Publikation: Beitrag in FachzeitschriftZeitschriftenaufsätzeForschungBegutachtung


The benefits of maternal physical activity during pregnancy are well documented, but long-term effects on the child have been less studied. Therefore, we conducted a pilot follow-up study of a lifestyle intervention during pregnancy that aimed to investigate whether exercise (endurance and strength training) during pregnancy affects motor performance and body composition of children up to 9 years of age, as well as possible influencing factors like brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and lifestyle. Eleven mother-child pairs from the intervention and eight mother-child pairs from the control group were included. From birth up to 9 years of age, no differences in body mass index (BMI) or body mass index standard deviation scores (BMI-SDS) were found between the groups. Lifestyle intervention was one of the influencing factors for children's cardiorespiratory endurance capacity and coordination. Moreover, maternal BDNF in the last trimester was significantly associated with running performance, which may be due to better neuronal development. This is the first study evaluating the effects of a lifestyle intervention during pregnancy on the motor performance 9 years after birth. Children's participation in exercise programs over the past 9 years was not continuously recorded and therefore not included in the analysis. Even a cautious interpretation of these results indicates that a healthy lifestyle during pregnancy is essential in promoting child health. Larger studies and randomized control trials are necessary to confirm our results, especially those pertaining to the role of BDNF.

ZeitschriftChildren (Basel, Switzerland)
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 08.11.2023


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