Dr. Jim Pivarnik - 2013 Huffines Discussion Scholar

Dr. Jim Pivarnik

Professor, Michigan State University

“Exercise and Pregnancy: Past, Present, and Future”

Dr. Pivarnik received his PhD in Exercise Physiology from Indiana University, and then completed an NIH Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the St. Louis University School of Medicine Department of Physiology.  After spending seven years at the University of Houston, he relocated nearby to Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children's Hospital.  For the past 19 years, he has been a Professor at Michigan State University, in the Departments of Kinesiology and Epidemiology & Biostatistics. Dr. Pivarnik has been President of the American College of Sports Medicine, and the North American Society for Pediatric Exercise Medicine.

Dr. Pivarnik's early work with body fluid changes in response to exercise was the impetus for his initial research on exercise and pregnancy, given a pregnant woman's blood volume increases 50-60% throughout gestation, then returns (we think) to baseline.  His early work was performed in the late 1980's when recommendations for exercise during pregnancy were considerably more conservative than current guidelines.  He has studied many aspects of physical activity during pregnancy for over 25 years, from physiologic, psychophysiologic, and epidemiologic perspectives.  He has published 124 peer reviewed papers, 10 book chapters, 190 abstracts, and has been PI or Co-Investigator on 45 research grants from federal, state, and foundation sources.  Dr. Pivarnik was responsible for writing the pregnancy section of the 2008 U.S. Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.  Current interests focus on the beneficial role of physical activity on maternal health outcomes, both acute and chronic.  He is also investigating the role of exercise throughout gestation on offspring health and development, which is a new and exciting focus for pregnancy researchers.