Obesity in children continues to reach epidemic proportions. In fact, childhood obesity increased from 5 percent in 1964 to about 13 percent in 1994. Today, it is about 20 percent – and rising. But, parents can help their kids stay fit at every stage of development. Moms can even give them a jump start at a fit lifestyle, while they’re still in the womb.
A 1990 study conducted by Dr. James Clapp, author of Exercising Through Your Pregnancy, concluded that women who exercised regularly during their pregnancy had shorter labors, fewer C-Sections, less uses of forceps and their babies had higher APGAR scores. APGAR is an acronym for Activity, Pulse, Grimace, Appearance, and Respiration and is the test given to a newborn immediately after birth.
Furthermore, in a separate study, Clapp found that babies born to women who exercised weighed less and had less bodyfat. The same study followed the children until they were five years old and found that they continued to weigh less and have less bodyfat. The children born to the exercising mothers also scored higher on some intelligence and oral language skill tests.
While most women do not feel like jumping right off the delivery table and onto the treadmill, post-partum exercise is extremely beneficial both to the mother and newborn. You can start exercising as soon as your doctor says it’s safe. Studies show, the endorphins released during exercise can counteract the effects of postpartum depression. Postpartum exercise is very good to help with depression but if you are not up to strenuous activities, there are plenty of gentle alternatives like Yoga geared for new moms to get you started. Baby friendly exercise gear such as jogging strollers, Baby Bjorn and even a Bounce A Bye Baby Exercise Ball to soothe and rock your newborn with rythmic movement. If the weather is nice, go outside for a long stroll with your baby and get some fresh air.
New moms not only find it helpful to bond with their babies, but also with other new mothers. There are lots of programs such as Moms in Motion, Baby Boot Camp, Stroller Strength Classes at health clubs, churches, synagogues, etc.