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Doctors encourage exercise during pregnancy to help prevent gestational diabetes and high blood pressure, but there may be a longer-term benefit.
The children of women who were physically active during and after pregnancy grew up to exercise more than the off spring of sedentary moms, according to a large study of 11- and 12-year-olds in the United Kingdom. Researchers measured the children's activity for one week and compared it with how much their mothers walked or swam during pregnancy and when the children were about 2.
"Active parents tend to raise active children," they concluded, noting that this result probably is due more to psychology than biology: Moms-to-be who exercise tend to remain active, and children who see their mothers enjoying exercise are inspired to be active themselves.