Encourage your pregnant clients (if cleared by their doctors) to keep working out with you. A new study shows that maintaining a healthy weight before and during pregnancy is a key factor in avoiding pregnancy complications.

The China-based study, which included 18,481 pregnant women, linked obesity during early pregnancy with a higher risk of spontaneous abortion, preterm birth and large birth weight in newborns. Also of note, risks of early neonatal death and low birth weight are higher for mothers who are underweight during pregnancy.

The study appeared in Obesity (2019; 27 [6], 1030–36).

Shirley Archer-Eichenberger, JD, MA

Shirley Archer, JD, MA, is an internationally acknowledged integrative health and mindfulness specialist, best-selling author of 16 fitness and wellness books translated into multiple languages and sold worldwide, award-winning health journalist, contributing editor to Fitness Journal, media spokesperson, and IDEA's 2008 Fitness Instructor of the Year. She's a 25-year industry veteran and former health and fitness educator at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, who has served on multiple industry committees and co-authored trade books and manuals for ACE, ACSM and YMCA of the USA. She has appeared on TV worldwide and was a featured trainer on America's Next Top Model.

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