Good for YOU?

The simple answer is YES, it is and you can and should be doing it.

Even if you have been a little slack with exercising before, it’s OK to start now. You just have to go at a slower pace and be aware of the signs your body is giving back to you.

If you have been exercising fairly regularly before you became pregnant, then that makes it easier for you to continue with a routine that works for you.

Any activities that potentially involve heavy contact or falls, such as horse-riding, skiing, gymnastics, football, rugby, tennis, squash, etc., should be stopped to avoid physically hurting yourself and/or your baby.

Other less stressful activities, like swimming, stationary cycling, walking, pregnancy-specific yoga, stretching and flexibility exercises are all great for the soon-to-be mum.

 

Check out the links below to find more information about what to do and how to go about it safely for you and your unborn baby. They have been approved by the BabyCenter Australia Medical Advisory Board which is made up of 20 experts in their individual fields, including Obstetrics, Gynaecology, Paediatrics, General Practice, Nutrition, Dietetics, Psychology, and Midwifery.

Guide to Exercising in Pregnancy: https://www.babycenter.com.au/a758/guide-to-exercising-in-pregnancy

The 13 Rules of Safe Pregnancy Exercise: https://www.babycenter.com/0_the-13-rules-of-safe-pregnancy-exercise_622.bc

 

Good for BABY?

Up until a few years ago, no one really knew whether mum’s exercise was doing anything for her unborn bub. There was always anecdotal stories from individuals who firmly believed their babies enjoyed the exercise and settled better in-utero afterwards.

But a study presented back in November 2013[1], by a team led by Professor Dave Ellemberg, from the University of Montreal in Canada, discovered that mums who exercised gave birth to babies who had a more developed brain compared with mums who did no exercise. This head-start could have an impact on the child’s entire life.

“While animal studies have shown similar results, this is the first randomized controlled trial in humans to objectively measure the impact of exercise during pregnancy directly on the newborn’s brain. We hope these results will guide public health interventions and research on brain plasticity. Most of all, we are optimistic that this will encourage women to change their health habits, given that the simple act of exercising during pregnancy could make a difference for their child’s future,” said Professor Ellemberg.

The researchers asked one group of randomly selected pregnant women to perform at least 20 minutes of moderate cardiovascular exercise three times per week from the beginning of their second trimester. The other group were sedentary, so they did no exercise at all.

The electrical activity of the newborn’s brain was assessed at 8 to 12 days old using electroencephalography (EEG).

“We used 124 soft electrodes placed on the infant’s head and waited for the child to fall asleep on his or her mother’s lap. We then measured auditory memory by means of the brain’s unconscious response to repeated and novel sounds,” said Élise Labonté-LeMoyne, the PhD candidate doing the study.

“Our results show that the babies born from the mothers who were physically active have a more mature cerebral activation, suggesting that their brains developed more rapidly.”

It is now commonly accepted that inactivity during pregnancy is a health concern.

“While being sedentary increases the risks of suffering complications during pregnancy, being active can ease post-partum recovery, make pregnancy more comfortable and reduce the risk of obesity in the children,” another colleague, Professor Daniel Curnier, explained.

“Given that exercise has been demonstrated to be beneficial for the adult’s brain, we hypothesized that it could also be beneficial for the unborn child through the mother’s actions.”

The research is continuing with further checks of each child’s brain development (cognitive, motor and language skills) at 1 year of age just to see if the differences are maintained in the longer term.

It will be fascinating to see the results when they are eventually published.

 

[1] http://nouvelles.umontreal.ca/en/article/2013/11/11/exercise-during-pregnancy-gives-newborn-brain-development-a-head-start/