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The Effect of Exercise During Pregnancy on Maternal and Offspring Vascular Outcomes: a Pilot Study

Brislane, Áine ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3214-6544, Jones, Helen, Holder, Sophie M., Low, David A. and Hopkins, Nicola D. (2020) The Effect of Exercise During Pregnancy on Maternal and Offspring Vascular Outcomes: a Pilot Study. Reproductive Sciences.

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The aim of this pilot study is to obtain estimates for the change in maternal cerebrovascular (primary) and offspring vascular
structure (secondary) during healthy pregnancy that includes structured exercise. Eighteen pregnant women self-assigned to a
moderate-intensity aerobic exercise intervention or a control group. Maternal cerebral blood flow (CBF) at the middle cerebral
artery, cerebro- and peripheral-vascular function was assessed at the end of each trimester. Offspring carotid artery intima-media
thickness (IMT) was measured within 12 weeks of birth. For exploratory purposes, we performed statistical analysis to provide
estimates of the change for primary and secondary outcome variables. Maternal CBF reduced (− 8 cm s−1 [− 14 to − 2]) with
evidence of change to cerebral autoregulation (normalised gain: 0.12 %cm s−1
% mmHg−1
mmHg/% [− 0.18 to 0.40]) during
pregnancy. Offspring carotid IMT was smaller in the exercise group (− 0.04 mm [− 0.12–0.03]) compared with controls. Based
upon this data, a sample size of 33 and 57 in each group is required for low-frequency normalised gain and offspring IMT,
respectively. This would provide 90% power to detect statistically significant (P < 0.05) between group differences in a
randomised controlled trial. CBF is reduced in pregnancy, possibly due to reduced vascular resistance and altered maternal
cerebral autoregulation. Maternal exercise had negligible effects on cerebrovascular adaptation to pregnancy, but we observed
lower offspring carotid artery wall thickness following maternal exercise. Our directional findings and sample size estimations
should be explored in a fully powered randomised control trial.
Clinical trial registration: The trial was registered on March 14th at https://register.clinicaltrials.gov (NCT03079258).
Participant enrolment began on 3rd April 2016.
Keywords Pregnancy . Exercise . Cerebrovascular function . Endothelial function . Offspring

Item Type: Article
Status: Published
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s43032-020-00302-7
School/Department: School of Science, Technology and Health
URI: https://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/4829

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