Can exercise during pregnancy improve your kiddo’s motor skills after birth? New research published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, found that physical activity during pregnancy may influence the baby’s motor development—that is, for the better!
The researchers sectioned 71 pregnant women (ages 18 through 35) into two groups. One group engaged in 50 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity three times per week, while the other group didn’t exercise.
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So what did the researchers find? The researchers evaluated each infant at one-month, using a motor scoring scale to analyze their development. The babies born to exercising mamas scored higher than those who were born to the mothers in the non-exercising group.
If you’re wondering what this means, it’s possible that infants who have better motor abilities will grow into children who also have better motor abilities. And this may make them more likely to engage in physical activity. In other words, no couch potatoes here.
Even though this study did find a connection between maternal exercise and infant motor development, the researchers didn’t find a cause for the results. It’s possible maternal blood flow increased during exercise, increasing blood and oxygen flow to the babies in utero. It’s also possible the changes in the infants’ motor development happened after birth. Whatever the reason, it looks like one thing is clear—physical activity during pregnancy (under medical supervision) has benefits for both mom and baby!