Want a Smart Baby? Grab Your Yoga Mat!
There is the start of some new scientific studies that show the positive correlation between women who exercise while pregnant, and the brain activity in their newborns. While early, findings from a small study showed that babies whose moms engaged in moderate exercise for 20 minutes at least three times per week had babies whose brains appeared to be better at processing sounds directly after birth. These same babies will be tested again at age 1 to see if the benefits continued or if they were short-term.
This is not the first study to make this distinction; an earlier study of rodents found similar results. Baby rats whose mothers were more active were found to have higher levels of mitochondria, a cell-building powerhouse, in their brains and also were more resistant to low oxygen conditions. A separate study followed baby mice, finding that babies of mice who had exercised had higher levels of neurons in the hippocampus – which can translate into improved memory and learning.
It is important to note that babies whose moms did not exercise were not necessarily deficient in any way, simply that they didn’t receive the same boost as those babies with active moms. This could be a great way to encourage higher activity levels during pregnancy, which can also help to reduce constipation, aches and pains, and bloating – all of which are some of the not-so-fun parts of most pregnancies.
Moms looking to create the best possible fetal environment should consider adding moderate, low-impact exercises to their regime – with their doctor’s permission, of course.