Park, Alice. “Exercise During Pregnancy May Boost Babies’ Brain Activity,” Time, November 11, 2013.
Time magazine’s Health & Family section featured an article on the positive effects of exercise during pregnancy. According to Alice Park, this is the first study to connect mom’s exercise with baby’s brain function. This study is significant because many people think that while pregnant it is best to “take it easy.” Although some medical issues require extra rest, research is starting show the benefits of maternal exercise during the pregnancy period. Always consult your doctor for guidelines for keeping your exercise from being too strenuous during pregnancy.
RESEARCH STUDY AND RESULTS ON BABY’S BRAIN
Scientists at the University of Montreal tested the brain function of days old infants by sticking 124 electrodes on the babies’ heads. While the infants slept the researchers monitored how their brains processed sounds. Researchers concluded that the babies’ brains showed a maturity of function only 8-12 days after birth in the research group of babies born to mothers who exercised regularly. The research was presented for the first time at the 2013 Neuroscience conference in San Diego.
MORE BENEFITS OF MATERNAL EXERCISE
Although exercise for pregnant women has been previously recommended, the goals were to prevent obesity by keeping maternal weight down and to prevent gestational diabetes. Research shows that obesity may contribute to autism and developmental delays in baby. Keeping maternal weight at a healthy level is extremely important. Gestational diabetes may result in complications for the mother and/or the baby. According to the Mayo Clinic gestational diabetes complications for baby include excessive birth weight, respiratory distress, low blood sugar, type 2 diabetes (occurs later in life), and jaundice. For the mother the complications include high blood pressure, preeclampsia, eclampsia, and future diabetes.
With this new research there is yet another benefit for baby to some regular exercise during pregnancy.