Pregnancy Physical Activity’s Effect on Child’s Brain

Even a little physical exercise during pregnancy improves brain development of the child. This is the conclusion drawn by the researchers from the University of Montreal in Canada. As noted in the experts’ report presented at the Congress of Neuroscience in San Diego, earlier obstetricians advised pregnant to lead a passive lifestyle and to rest more often, but it is now accepted that inaction could lead to negative consequences.

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Earlier animal studies have shown that exercise improves the baby’s brain development in the womb. In addition, exercise is beneficial to the adult brain. In this regard, the researchers decided to find out how physical activity can be useful for the mother and for her baby before birth. Such an experiment on humans was conducted for the first time.

A sedentary lifestyle during pregnancy increases the risk of complications during childbirth. At the same time an active lifestyle can make pregnancy more comfortable and postpartum recovery easier. In addition, it reduces the risk of obesity in children, according to a document published on the website of the Congress.

According to the report, at least 20 minutes of exercise three times a week is enough for a favorable effect on the baby’s brain. We should also note that the load should be agreed upon with the doctor.

The participants of the study were women in their second trimester of pregnancy. They were divided into two groups. The participants of the first group predominantly had a sedentary lifestyle. The women in the second group performed cardiovascular exercise of moderate intensity, which caused a little shortness of breath.

The researchers then assessed brain activity of children aged 8 to 12 days using EEG. 124 soft electrodes were attached to the baby’s head. When the children fell asleep, they checked his aural memory, noting the brain’s unconscious response to new and familiar sounds.

The results showed that the children born to physically active mothers had a more developed and active brain.

Currently, scientists are estimating the effect of the exercise on verbal and motional development in children at the age of 1. Also, the authors of the report expressed hope that their study would encourage women to change their habits.

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