You already know that you should work out – but we often need reminding of all the benefits especially during our pregnancies when it can often feel very hard to get up and get moving!
I know how hard it can be to actually continue to exercise during pregnancy despite all the benefits but in saying that exercising is absolutely the best thing that you can do for your unborn baby, in fact there is no women who shouldn't be exercising unless a medical condition prevents her.
We know that exercise is good for your brain and your body, your self-esteem and yes even your sex life, it can even calm your nerves and reverse disease.
Now released last month, researchers are learning that the benefits of exercise may apply to your developing baby. Two studies presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience suggested that those who exercise during pregnancy could be giving their unborn child a neurological advantage, you are going to have a smarter baby!
One study followed a group of 18 pregnant women, starting in their first trimester, assigning eight to a sedentary group and 10 to an active one, in which they were asked to exercise at least 20 minutes a day, three times a week. Eight to 12 days after the women gave birth, researchers fitted the newborns with electrodes that measure brain activity in response to various sounds – an established test for memory, says Dave Ellemberg, a neuroscientist at the University of Montreal and one of the study's authors. Indeed, the newborns of active moms showed "more mature, more effective brain patterns," he says.
"What we found out is that there's this amazing transfer from what the mother does onto her child," he says, adding that moms-to-be can give their kids "a kickstart even before they're born." The team plans to follow up with the children when they're 4 to 6 months old to see how development progresses.
"Our research indicates that exercise during pregnancy enhances the newborn child's brain development. "While animal studies have shown similar results, this is the first randomised controlled trial in humans to objectively measure the impact of exercise during pregnancy directly on the newborn's brain.
In the past, women would be advised to take it easy and rest during pregnancy. Now it is widely accepted that too much inactivity can be harmful both to mother and child.
Co-author Professor Daniel Curnier, a sports and exercise scientist at the University of Montreal, said: "While being sedentary increases the risks of suffering complications during pregnancy, being active can ease post-partum (after delivery) recovery, make pregnancy more comfortable and reduce the risk of obesity in the children. Given that exercise has been demonstrated to be beneficial for the adult's brain, we hypothesised that it could also be beneficial for the unborn child through the mother's actions."
If exercising for just 20 minutes 3 times a week can produce these amazing benefits for your unborn child then I know Mums will set out to achieve this and that this amount of exercise time is achievable even for the busiest of Mums. How to fit in your weekly exercise.
Another study, which used rats, found that the male offspring of rats that exercised during pregnancy had better object recognition as adults. This showed the potential of exercise to leave "long-lasting effects on the behavior and the cognitive function of the offspring," says David Bucci, an author of the study and professor of psychological and brain science at Dartmouth University. (Bucci was so surprised by the results that he had them triple-checked by the graduate student running the study.)
There is still more research to do, but these studies may help to refute the popular and mistaken belief that when it comes to exercise, pregnant women should exercise extreme caution.
"There's been a legacy forever of pregnant people being somehow equated with eggs, that their shell is very fragile" and thus, "the baby is easily broken," says Roger Harms, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Mayo Medical School and editor of the "Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy."
To the contrary, there's no evidence that exercise would harm a baby and the health benefits for the mum-to-be are well-established, he says. As Harms sees it, exercise provides a kind of insurance for mothers to better rebound from the added weight and stress of new motherhood.
"If you've already taken a hiatus from your exercise during pregnancy, you are probably going to have a hard time getting started again for the rest of your life," he says.
But if people manage to exercise through the challenges of pregnancy, "the odds are pretty good you'll be able to overcome many of the impediments that are more social than physical after the baby is born that keep people from exercising." What's more, he says exercise helps provide "better energy for labor and delivery and all of the trials that come at the end of pregnancy."
Exercising during pregnancy is now a must, join our Fit2BirthMum program to exercise safely during your pregnancy and get fit for Birth!
More Benefits for Baby of Exercising Mums
Lorraine Scapens is the founder of http://pregnancyexercise.co.nz she has more than 20 years’ experience in the Fitness Industry.
If you feel any pain or discomfort whilst exercising, stop. If pain continues consult you L.M.C or G.P. The information included in this article has been written by Lorraine Scapens: She is not able to provide you with medical advice, information is used as guide. You cannot hold Lorraine liable in any way for any injuries that may occur whilst training.