Macronutrient Intake of Pregnant Exercisers and Non-Exercisers

ECU Author/Contributor (non-ECU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Kristen N Fulcher (Creator)
East Carolina University (ECU )
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Abstract: With the childhood obesity pandemic, it is vital for pregnant women to focus on healthy habits (i.e. proper nutrition, exercise) in order to ensure a positive in utero environment. Exercise during pregnancy is associated with normalizing birth weight and decreased body fat of infants. Research of maternal diet finds that increases in maternal consumption of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, and animal and vegetable proteins cause an increase in birth weight. To date, research has not investigated potential differences in nutrition among women that exercise or not during pregnancy. This research project aims to determine if differences exist in maternal nutrition, more specifically macronutrient intake, related to exercise during pregnancy. Based on previous literature, we hypothesize that pregnant exercisers will have an increased intake of macronutrients (proteins, carbohydrates, fats) compared to pregnant women who do not exercise, but similar frequencies of macronutrients. Women were either exercise trained (moderate intensity, 50 minutes, 3 times per week) or not (control). All women completed a food frequency questionnaire in the first trimester prior to training and at the end of pregnancy (after 20 week training period). Data from 21 uncomplicated pregnancies was analyzed utilizing t-test for all measures. All women had healthy, singleton pregnancy and delivered healthy infants with normal birth weights. Preliminary findings from this study show there are no group differences in most first trimester macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, vegetable/fruit, fat/sweet). Preliminary FFQ results show that pregnant women in the exercise group have significantly higher intake of dairy compared to pregnant women that do not exercise during pregnancy. By third trimester, there are no group differences in macronutrient intake of protein, dairy, carbohydrate, vegetables/fruits, and fat/sweets. In addition, gestational weight gain measures show that exercise during pregnancy helps maintain normal weight gain during pregnancy and appropriate birth weight of infants. These findings suggest all pregnant women obtain similar levels of macronutrients regardless of exercise activity, or not. Although this supports the impact of exercise, and not nutrition per se, on previously beneficial fetal/infant outcomes, further analysis is required regarding quality of macronutrients.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2016
Macronutrient Intake, Pregnancy, Maternal Diet, Exercise

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