Health

Exercising While Pregnant Proves Beneficial to Baby’s Brain Development

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Researchers at the University of Montreal and CHU Saint-Justine Hospital have made a stark discovery that pregnant mothers who exercise regularly can enhance their newborn’s brain development while still in the womb. A pregnant mother performing just 20 minutes of cardiovascular exercise, three times a week, improves the cognitive ability in their babies. A noticeable difference in brain activity was noted as early as 8 to 12 days of age in newborn babies while babies that were born of sedentary mothers exhibited less cognitive activity.

In an interview with Al Jazeera, kinesiology professor Dave Ellemberg states, “Our research indicates that exercise during pregnancy enhances the newborn child’s brain development.” Ellemberg unveiled his research Sunday in San Diego, CA at the Society for Neuroscience conference.

While the test group was small, including just 18 pregnant women participating, researchers say it is the first study to make a connection between a mother’s physical activity and her baby’s brain development.

Each woman was randomly placed in either an active or sedentary group and given specific instructions around their second trimester to either exercise for 20 minutes until the point they would just lose their breath or not to exercise at all. The women were told to keep a record of their activities via an online website designed to log and track their physical activities, sleeping and eating habits. Monthly they were tested in a lab.

Within two weeks of giving birth, the babies were brought in to measure their brain patterns and the results clearly showed that the babies whose mother’s had exercised had more mature brain impulse when introduced to repeated sounds, indicating similar brain activity to that of a six month old baby.

There is other research that indicates that exercise during pregnancy may also improve a baby’s cardiovascular health. Overall, it has been proven that exercise during a pregnancy is important to enhancing the health and development of babies.

141 Comments

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