Exercise good for moms-to-be — and baby's brain

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Dr. Kristin Woodward takes a look at this new study.

Exercise during pregnancy has been found to improve back pain, sleep, mood, and energy.  In fact, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends pregnant women exercise at least thirty minutes a day, most days of the week.  A new study shows exercise may not only benefit mom but may also increase a baby's brain activity.

Researchers from the University of Montreal followed two groups pregnant women at the start of their second trimester. One group exercised for twenty minutes three times a week, the other group remained sedentary.  Researchers measured the infant's brain activity with an EEG when the babies were 8-12 days old.  They recorded how the babies responded to various sounds.  The babies whose mothers remained active responded to sounds more efficiently.  It is thought that this may lead to improved language skills later in life.  The researchers will follow the babies until they are one year old to see if they continue to show an advantage.

Exercise has been shown to improve the overall cognitive function of adults,  It appears this may also be true for the growing fetus.  The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends, "moderate exercise" for expectant mothers.  Examples include walking, biking, and swimming.  There are some groups of women who should not exercise during pregnancy so it is always advised to talk to your doctor before starting an exercise program while pregnant.


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