Although some doctors still suggest that women should take it easy during their pregnancies, being active might actually be the best thing for your child, including the brain.
New research shows that as little as 20 minutes of exercise, three times a week, can give the baby a head start in brain development.
The study: To measure the effects of exercise, Scientists at the University of Montreal asked a group of pregnant women to work out for a minimum of 20 minutes, three times per week, at a moderate level. The researchers met with the subjects monthly to ensure they adapted their intensity levels to their advancing pregnancy. The participants of a control group were asked not to exercise.
Ten days after each infant was born, the child’s brain activity was measured using electroencephalography (EEG) to see if the baby can differentiate between new sounds they hear.
The researchers measured a particular cognitive reaction to sound that is characteristic of early brain development. It slowly disappears as newborns age and become more efficient in treating information.
Over the course of three years, the researchers found the infants of the mothers who had exercised while pregnant were twice as efficient learners than the children of the sedentary group.
Another study: In another study, Spanish researchers have clarified doubts over the physical activity recommended during pregnancy. Their study confirmed that there is strong scientific evidence maintaining that moderate exercise during pregnancy is safe and beneficial for both mother and baby.
The scientists hope that their findings will motivate pregnant women to stay active, also for the sake of their children.