Now there’s one more reason to exercise during pregnancy. We all know the benefits of a workout for mom: better sleep, boosts energy, faster and easier labor, quicker return to pre-pregnancy shape and stress reduction. New research shows that prenatal exercise is good for your baby too!

A baby in the womb gets a similar workout to mom and will benefit by making it through labor more easily, by enduring contractions better. Babies of mothers who exercise are less stressed during labor and have more access to oxygen, and babies of fit moms are more likely to be born leaner and lighter… giving them a healthier start and less chance of being overweight as they grow up.

Maternal exercise during pregnancy has real cardiovascular benefits for the developing baby. In a recent small study, researchers measured the fetal heart rate and heart rate variability at various stages of pregnancy of 10 women — five of whom exercised, five of whom did not.

The fetuses exposed to maternal exercise had significantly lower heart rates than fetuses not exposed to exercise. In other words, when a mom exercises during pregnancy, the unborn baby gets the same type of training effect benefit that you would see in an adult.

Research has also proven that babies of exercising mothers are less stressed and are able to endure contractions better during labor in comparison to the babies of sedentary mothers. When babies are able to deal with the mild stress of normal labor, there is often no Meconium (bowel movement by fetus often due to higher stress levels).

Exercising mothers are shown to have a smaller percentage of red-blood cells, therefore displaying that minimal or no stress is present in the babies. Additionally, the hormone erythropoietin, shows up in cord blood samples minimally due to the sufficient oxygen.  Oxygen is more available in exercising mothers who are also noted to perceive and handle the pain of labor in a more relaxed way.

Women who exercise during pregnancy often relieve common pregnancy discomforts and feel better overall.  The less anxiety a mother has during pregnancy, the less stressed her baby is.  Overall birth outcomes are better because the mothers are more relaxed and are encouraged to take care of themselves.

Prenatal exercise is offered through Oh Baby! Fitness at several locations in Metro Atlanta.  The classes offered follow  ACOG guidelines as well as other evidence-based knowledge.  All of the instructors with Oh Baby! Fitness are experienced and certified in Prenatal and Postnatal Fitness.

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