Photo: Getty Images
According to a new study, moms-to-be can “exercise” their efforts to give their new baby a healthier heart.
The research found that you can improve your child’s cardiovascular health by exercising prior to he or she being born. The study was conducted at the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences. Exercise physiologist and anatomist, Linda E. May headed up the study. She said, "Most of the focus today is on school-age children, but interventions should be focused long before that."
A prior study in 2008 conducted by May found that women who exercised at least 30 minutes, three times a week throughout their pregnancy, had fetuses with lower heart rates. Those of us who work in pre-natal exercise know the benefits of exercise for the mother. But these findings underscore the benefits for the unborn child. A lower resting heart rate is a good indication of a healthy heart.
This year May and her colleagues have discovered the longer standing effects of exercise on newborn babies. Her findings indicate that the babies cardiovascular level is consistently maintained one month after delivery. This indication is encouraging for new mothers to exercise during their pregnancy. These new findings were presented at the Experimental Biology 2011 annual meeting in Washington, D.C. The study evaluated both 61 pregnant women and the cardiovascular health of their unborn babies.
This is not the first study indicating the positive effects of pre-natal exercise for the unborn child. A prior study showed that moms-to-be who exercised also helped to prevent childhood obesity while their baby is still in the womb. That study was published in The Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. The findings of the study were that consistent moderate-intensity cardiovascular activity led to a small reduction in birth weight. The study also found that the mother’s insulin resistance was not compromised by the activity. The study echoed findings of previous studies which also showed that an increased birth weight puts the child at risk for obesity.