Positive Parenting Newsfeed—a Child Trends Project—is Supported by the National Science Foundation

Working Out While Pregnant Builds Better Babies

ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Childhood obesity is becoming an epidemic in America. The percentage of kids affected by obesity has tripled in the last 50 years. Now researchers have found something that could help prevent childhood obesity; starting before your child is even born.

One third of kids in America are considered overweight or obese and that is associated with poor motor skill performance and a lower level of physical activity in childhood. Now researchers at East Carolina University have found something moms-to-be can do to lower their child’s risk of obesity. The researchers randomly assigned healthy pregnant women to two groups. One group did moderate to vigorous 50-minute sessions of aerobic exercise three times a week and the other group took part in 50 minutes of stretching and breathing routines three times a week. Both groups participated from 16 weeks of pregnancy until delivery.

Researchers found that the moms who performed aerobic exercise had infants who had better motor skills at one month. Those infants had better muscular strength and coordination to voluntarily control their heads and extremities. The researchers suggest that babies who move better early in life will continue to move more and thus are more likely to be physically active throughout childhood, which can lower their risk for obesity. So, get moving moms-to-be, it doesn’t just keep you healthy, but helps your baby, too.

Exercising while pregnant has other benefits, too! It can ease your back pain, lower your risk of gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and cesarean delivery, and helps you lose weight after your baby is born.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Milvionne Chery, Writer; Roque Correa, Editor.

Produced by Child Trends News Service in partnership with Ivanhoe Broadcast News and funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation. 

(Sources: https://www.cdc.gov/healthyschools/obesity/facts.htm, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30817721, https://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Exercise-During-Pregnancy?IsMobileSet=false)

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