The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog is intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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    Walking vs stretching in high-risk pregnancy

    This study from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill compared the response to each activity in high-risk women who were sedentary and had experienced pre-eclampsia previously.

    First, the details.

    • 79 women were randomly assigned to walking or stretching 5 times a week until the end of pregnancy.
    • The walkers exercised a little more than 30 minutes per session.
    • The stretching group engaged in stretching exercises based on a 40-minute videotape.
    • Both groups participated significantly less in their assigned activities over time.

    And, the results.

    • There were no significant differences in birth outcomes.
    • Pre-eclampsia occurred in 15% of walkers vs 3% of stretchers.
    • Gestational hypertension occurred in 22% of walkers vs 40% of stretchers.
    • The average transferrin level, an antioxidant marker, was significantly higher in the stretching group vs the walkers at labor.

    The bottom line?
    My conclusion from the study is that it’s difficult to get sedentary pregnant women to maintain a fairly rigorous regimen of walking or exercise over time.

    The authors concluded, “Regular stretching exercises may promote endogenous antioxidants among women at risk for pre-eclampsia.”

    Oxidative stress has been proposed as a key factor in the development of pre-eclampsia. Stretching might increase transferring levels, but a recent Cochrane review concluded the evidence does “not support routine antioxidant supplementation during pregnancy to reduce the risk of pre-eclampsia and other serious complications in pregnancy.” Of course, supplementation is not necessarily the same as stretching.

    5/30/08 22:03 JR

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