Nine months of carrying your baby often creates an incredible bond between the two of you – before you’ve even met (and for more on that be sure to check out our post on in-utero bonding)! During pregnancy the focus is on treating your body well to make your baby’s temporary home as happy and healthy as possible, and chances are regular exercise has been a part of that. What you may not know is that all that exercising and staying active is not only doing you and your baby a world of good now, it’s actually giving your child lasting benefits for the future. You may be surprised to learn all the ways your workouts (both during and after pregnancy) can make an impact on your little one’s life.
Prenatal Exercise Can Boost Baby’s Brain Development
According to some exciting new research there is strong reason to suggest that women who exercise regularly during pregnancy give their children a leg up when it comes to brain power. The intricate workings of how your exercise benefits baby’s growing brain is not fully understood – but researchers from the University of Montreal in Canada believe it could be due to the combination of chemicals released during prenatal exercise playing a role in fetal brain development. Their recent study showed how newborns of women who had consistently exercised displayed ‘more mature brain function’ when being put through some simple tests. For more on the study and its findings – read here.
Prenatal Exercise Can Benefit Baby’s Heart Health
During exercise, your heart rate naturally increases. When pregnant however, it’s not only your heart rate that goes up: your baby’s heart rate actually increases in the womb too! So how is this beneficial for heart health? Well, people who regularly exercise generally have a lower resting heart rate, which is indicative of a more efficient, and healthier cardiovascular system. The interesting findings on prenatal exercise suggest that women who workout regularly while expecting have babies with a lower resting heart rate too. It’s as if baby is getting healthy exercise with you! These benefits have also been shown to extend into infant heart health and even childhood heart health. For more on the research in this space, read here.
Prenatal Exercise Can Reduce Baby’s Risk of Chronic Diseases
Knowing how your activity levels can impact baby’s brain and heart health, you probably won’t be surprised to learn that exercising during pregnancy can reduce baby’s risk of chronic diseases – including obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. In 2016, an international team of researchers published a really informative piece on the influence of prenatal exercise on offspring health that should be encouraging to women everywhere. They discuss how, regardless of income or socioeconomic status, prenatal exercise is linked to higher rates of full-term delivery and healthier infant birth weights. Their research findings conclude that “exercise during pregnancy may elicit a prenatal programming effect, creating a healthy environment in utero during a critical time of organ development”. For the full research paper, read here.
As A Parent, Your Activity Levels Influence Your Child’s Activity
While prenatal exercise is incredible (and we’re the biggest supporters of it!) don’t forget that the benefits of staying active for you and your child continue after birth too! Just
because your baby is no longer in your belly doesn’t mean that your fitness routine can’t have an impact on them. In fact, reports have shown that parents who are more active have children who are more likely to lead active, healthier lives as well. It’s all about leading by example – and the data is there to back it up. A study last year found that a child’s level of physical activity increases by 5-10 minutes for every 20-minute increase in the physical activity of a parent. You can read the full findings here.
More Reasons To Get Outside & Get Active For Your Child
By this point we hope you’re already lacing up your shoes for today’s workout or booking a class that gets you moving. But the biggest takeaway from all of this is that the benefits of exercise – to both you and your child – come when fitness is a regular and valued part of your life. It doesn’t have to be going to the gym every day or paying for expensive classes a few times a week; it can be as simple as a bodyweight circuit in your home (for that be sure to download the Baby2Body app!) or going for a walk or jog outside with your family.
Making baby a part of your workouts – while pregnant and as a newborn – can lead to benefits for the both of you for years to come. When you’re soaking up those newborn months, making a point to get outside, get a healthy and needed dose of Vitamin D, and get some exercise in will only do you and baby a world of good. If you’re on the hunt for a stroller you can trust to keep baby close to you, comfortable, and safe – one of our very favorites is Stokke’s new Trailz™ Stroller. Not only is it stunning, sleek, powerful and protective – it offers you the flexibility of a range of configurations to adapt to you and your baby’s changing needs, while remaining ergonomically designed for you and baby.
The plushly padded cot is divine and made with fibers designed for breathability, the ingenious design allows for quick and convenient access to your baby, and the canopy allows for optimum ventilation while providing necessary shade – all extremely important factors when out for a walk with your little one. We can’t
recommend it highly enough. If you want one more reason to get outside for a stroll with your newborn? In the past studies have suggested that a daily dose of fresh air might help your little one sleep better at night! Now if that doesn’t make you want to set out for a stroll we don’t know what will.
We hope this has left you feeling inspired and motivated to get moving as a new or expecting mama. If you’re looking for more guidance on a safe and effective prenatal exercise routine or postpartum strengthening plan – be sure to download the Baby2Body iOS app.
This post is sponsored by Stokke UK.