Congratulations to Professor SeonAe Yeo, PhD, RNC, FAAN, who was awarded $2.27 million in research grant funding from the National Institute for Nursing Research to reduce cardiovascular health risk in pregnant women with obesity through stretching exercise.

Most pregnant women become sedentary in the 3rd trimester, but sedentariness can lead to higher risk for maternal and child mortality and morbidity. In a randomized controlled trial with a high-risk group of sedentary overweight and obese pregnant women with a history of preeclampsia, Dr. Yeo and her team found that ten or more weeks of stretching exercise reduced the incidence of preeclampsia — a significant risk factor for cardiovascular disease — by lowering blood pressure and enhancing antioxidant up-regulation and production, compared to walking, to which pregnant women adhered poorly. Stretching exercise is known to have high acceptance, better adherence, no known untoward side effects, and promising preliminary evidence of effectiveness.

With the $2.27 million, Yeo and her team plan to test if this effect can be extended to broader populations of pregnant women in the study titled “Promoting Stretching Exercise to Reduce Cardiovascular Health Risk in Late Pregnant Women with Obesity.” The study has three main objectives:

    1. To test the efficacy of stretching exercise intervention on improving cardiovascular health compared to enhanced usual care (eUC), which includes moderate/vigorous activity, specifically walking, for 30 minutes 5 days/week as recommended by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
    2. To test the efficacy of the stretching exercise intervention on maternal, fetal, and neonatal composite outcomes compared to eUC.
    3. To explore the relationship between adherence and cardiovascular measures and pregnancy complications.

The five-year study will run through May 31, 2024, and will include the team members listed below.

Co-Investigators
Melissa Caughey | UNC Division of Cardiology and McAllister Heart Institute
Jamie Crandell | UNC School of Nursing
John Thorp | UNC School of Medicine, Obstetrics and Gynecology
Alan Hinderliter | UNC School of Medicine, Cardiology
Kelly Evenson | UNC School of Public Health, Epidemiology
Jeongok Logan | University of Virginia School of Nursing

Consultants
JoEllen Wilbur | Rush University College of Nursing
Michelle Mottola | University of Western Ontario, Department of Anatomy & Kinesiology
James Blumenthal | Duke University Medical Center, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Well done, Dr. Yeo!

National Institue for Nursing Research, Award Number 1R01NR017944-01A1, Yeo (PI) 08/6/19-05/31/24, Funding: $2,271,416, “Promoting stretching exercise to reduce cardiovascular health risk in late pregnant women with obesity”

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