Important research found that improving the eating and exercise habits of women who were overweight when first pregnant yielded long-term cardiovascular benefits for the children and sustainable better dietary practices for the women themselves.

The British study, published in Pediatric Obesity, determined that women who participated in a diet and exercise intervention during pregnancy had children whose resting heart rate was, on average, 5 beats per minute lower than it was for those whose mothers made no lifestyle changes during pregnancy. An intervention of this type could set children up for better cardiovascular health as they age.

What’s more, the investigation showed that mothers in the intervention arm were still maintaining a healthier diet, including a lower intake of saturated fat, 3 years after the birth of their child. However, self-reported physical activity among the two groups was no longer different. This suggests the workouts were more challenging to maintain and this aspect of a healthy lifestyle could require further intervention post-delivery.

See also: Active Pregnant Moms Boost Babies’ Fitness