Electroencephalography, as performed on an infant: Image: University of Montreal via medicalnewstoday.comThe further along a mom gets in her pregancy, the more she longs to just sit down and take a load off her feet. But not too much, indicates the latest research from the University of Montreal; she should be mindful of the power of exercise to give her newborn a head start.
Yes, just as exercise improves the brain power of children and adults, research conducted with the University's affiliated children's hospital, CHU Sainte-Justine, showed that when pregnant women got their heart rates up through moderate intensity exercise for at least 20 minutes, three times per week, their babies showed 'more mature' cerebral activation than infants of the sedentary mothers when tested wth electroencephalography 8 and 12 days after birth. The tests showed increased brain response to familiar and unfamiliar auditory stimuli while the infants slept in their mothers' arms.
Professor Daniel Curnier, speaking at the Neuroscience 2013 Congress in San Diego, said that the results suggest that the brains of the exercising moms developed more rapidly. Additionally, he noted that an active pregnancy has the benefits of making pregnancy more comfortable, easing post partum depression, and reducing the risk of obesity in their children.
The research team will assess the tested infants again when they are one-year old. In the meantime, they are hoping that their research will contribute to the efforts of public health education on brain plasticity. "...that the simple act of exercising during pregnancy could make a difference for their child's future."
In an interview with Medical News Today, Professor Dave Ellemberg, who led the research team, said that "advanced cerebral maturation... could imply that babies acquire speech more rapidly, and the same could be true for their motor development." It could also help with their "intellectual and social development."
source: Medical News Today