Research has shown that exercise during pregnancy benefits the heart health of the mother and infant. To see if a pregnant mother’s exercise habits may have additional effects on her child’s health, researchers investigated the effects of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise (150 minutes/week) during pregnancy on the motor skills of 1-month-old infants.
Relative to infants of non-exercising women, infants whose mothers exercised while pregnant had higher scores on four out of five neuromotor development variables. Overall, 71 mothers were randomized to either the exercise or control group. Results suggest that aerobic exercise during pregnancy can positively influence neuromotor changes to the developing fetus that persist after birth.
This is important since infants who are better movers are more likely to be active as they grow. Since physical activity is a risk factor of childhood obesity, aerobic exercise during pregnancy may be the earliest time to help reduce that risk. View the abstract.