Want Smarter Kids? Move your bump!
It is widely known that gestational exercise is SUPER beneficial for moms and their babies. Now, more research reveals just how much of a head start (literally) maternal exercise during pregnancy can give a child.
Gestational Exercise Can Give Your Child an Advantage in Cognitive Functioning
Will exercise during pregnancy help your child’s brain develop? Researchers at the University of Montreal say yes.
In a 2017 paper published in Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, a team of researchers shared findings from their study. This study set out to determine the impact of maternal exercise on fetal brain development.
To assess the impact, researchers evaluated two groups of infants 10 days after their birth. The mothers of these infants were randomly assigned to one of two groups. While they were pregnant, they separated into an exercise group and a non-exercise group.
To start, researchers hooked up the 10-day old infants to EEG monitors. These non-invasively measure electrical activity in the brain. Next, the researchers took the infants through an auditory memory test (sound discrimination). As they played different sounds and pitches, researchers measured how the infants’ brains reacted to different sound variations being played.
The ability to discriminate sound, present at birth, is a HUGELY important skill in language development. This makes it much easier to measure in young infants compared to other cognitive functions which have yet to develop.
Now, when it comes to an EEG wave, smaller is better. This is EXACTLY what was observed in the infants from the exercise group.
To be more specific, the babies of exercising mothers displayed brain waves that were about HALF the size of the sedentary group. This means these babies required LESS energy to discriminate between sounds. This also indicates a more mature brain response.
The paper’s lead author, Elise Labonte-LeMoyne, stated: “What we really conclude is that [the infants born to exercising mothers cognitively] matured sooner, and by exercising, which appears to have no downside, you give an advantage to your child.”
As if you needed another reason to exercise.
Okay, so exercising during pregnancy inspires strong brain development in your infant, but now what? If you’re not sure where to start with exercise during pregnancy, Move Your Bump is the perfect place for you. Our members receive weekly workout programs and monthly nutrition plans, backed by a community of fellow moms and amazing coaches. Check out all Move Your Bump has to offer, HERE.