Did You Know…
You already know that exercise is beneficial for the expectant mother. Did you know that it is also beneficial for your baby as well? That’s right! Research has shown that exercising during pregnancy can have numerous benefits for your baby and can even help give them an advantage in the early stages of childhood. The following are some of the many benefits that exercise can provide for your baby:
Better Physical Condition at Birth
When a baby is born, the physician will determine the newborn’s Apgar Score, which evaluates the physical condition of the baby at birth. It is done at one and five minutes after birth to assess breathing effort, heart rate, muscle tone, reflexes, and skin color. Babies that are born to mothers who exercised during pregnancy have a slightly higher Apgar Score. This gives the newborn a physical advantage and sets them up for success later on.
Slightly Lower Birth Weight
Babies that are born to an active mother typically weigh a little less at birth, though still well within the healthy zone. These exercise babies have less body fat than those born to sedentary mothers. Why is this important? Studies are now finding that these babies born to exercising mothers are also able to maintain a lower body fat percentage throughout childhood than those born to sedentary mothers. This is most likely a combination of the physical advantage at birth AND the active habits that the mother passes down to her child.
In the past, mothers were concerned about overexertion during pregnancy. They feared that an increased heart rate could harm the baby. Good news! This fear has been found to be false. It is true that the baby’s heart rate increases as the mother exercises but this actually leads to a lower and healthier heart rate overall in the baby. Just like the mother, the baby learns to adapt to the constant rise and fall of heart rate which enhances overall cardiac function. Think of it as prenatal conditioning. This becomes an advantage for the newborn because their heart is already conditioned and in better shape than the non-exercise newborn.
Better Oxygen Regulation
Another fear of exercising during pregnancy is that decreased oxygen could harm the baby. This isn’t something to worry about though. As long as you are following safety guidelines and not pushing yourself past your comfort zone, your baby will be fine. In fact, your baby will learn how to adapt to lower oxygen levels which will help them better tolerate times of stress.
Higher Intelligence Scores
If you still need a reason to exercise during your pregnancy, do it for your baby’s future! Seriously. Studies have found that babies born to exercising mothers score higher on general intelligence tests and oral language skill tests than those born to sedentary mothers. This continues through childhood and will help set your child up for success.
Do It For Your Baby
Exercise is a crucial part of pregnancy health, not just for you, but for your baby as well. It will give your baby a physical advantage through enhanced heart function and an overall better physical condition at birth. In addition, exercise can lead to higher intelligence and a lower chance of obesity. Now that you know the benefits of exercising during your pregnancy, talk to one of our trainers today to get started on a program!
Hyatt, Gwen, and Catherine Cram. Prenatal and Postpartum Exercise Design. Tucson, AZ: Desert Southwest Fitness Center for Continuing Education, 2016. Print.
- Exercise and Pregnancy
- Exercise is Good For The Expectant Mother
- Prenatal Exercise is Good For Your Baby