Influence of Land or Water Exercise in Pregnancy on Outcomes: A Cross-sectional Study

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This study aimed to compare the cross-sectional results from three experimental studies conducted on land, in water, and in mixed form (land + water) during pregnancy on maternal and newborn outcomes.


A cross-sectional design was used to analyze the results of three randomized clinical trials in healthy pregnant women from Madrid (Spain) and Buenos Aires (Argentina). Five hundred and sixty-eight pregnant women were recruited. For each of the studies, the number of women in the exercise group totaled 107 for study 1 (land), 49 women for study 2 (water), and 101 women for study 3 (land + water). A total of 311 women represented the control group (CG) (pooled together from all three studies).


Total maternal weight gain was different between study 1 and CG (11.7 vs 13.4 kg, P = 0.001, Cohen's d = 0.38) as well as the percentage of pregnant women with excessive weight gain (20.6%, n = 22, vs 37.9%, n = 118, respectively, P = 0.005, χ2 = 16.6, OR = 0.42, 95% confidence interval = 0.25–0.71). The number of pregnant women with gestational diabetes in CG was significantly higher than that in studies 2 and 3 (CG n = 22/7.1%; study 2, n = 0/0%; and study 3, n = 1/1%; P = 0.03, χ2 = 8.9).


Exercise performed on land is more effective than aquatic activities in preventing excessive maternal weight gain, whereas combined programs (land + aquatic) or water exercise programs may be more effective in preventing gestational diabetes.

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