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Res Nurs Health. 2009 Aug;32(4):379-90. doi: 10.1002/nur.20328.

Adherence to walking or stretching, and risk of preeclampsia in sedentary pregnant women.

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School of Nursing, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 5008 Carrington Hall CB 7460, Chapel Hill, NC 27599.


Pregnant women at risk for preeclampsia may benefit from the positive effects of exercise, but they may be unlikely to adhere to an exercise program. A randomized trial was conducted with 124 sedentary pregnant women to compare the effects of walking exercise to a stretching exercise on adherence and on the preeclampsia risk factors of heart rate (HR), blood pressure, and weight gain. Walkers exercised less than stretchers both overall and as pregnancy advanced. HR and blood pressure were lower among stretchers than walkers, but weight gain did not differ between the groups. For sedentary pregnant women, a stretching exercise may be more effective than walking in mitigating the risk of preeclampsia due to higher adherence and possible cardiac-physiologic effects.

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