picture of exercise during pregnancy

Research has been telling us for years that exercise during pregnancy benefits both mother and child. Now new studies show that exercising during pregnancy can improve your child’s heart health after birth.

The study performed by Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences found that pregnant women who exercised at least 30 minutes three times a week had fetuses with lower heart rates during the final weeks of development. Their work also reveals that improved cardiovascular heart control is maintained one month after pregnancy – lasting effects.

Linda E. May, an exercise physiologist and anatomist at KCUMB explains that, “the system that controls heart function is known to improve with regular aerobic exercise and improved heart control function is evidence of a healthy cardiovascular system and overall health.”

Tips for starting a routine exercise during pregnancy:

  • • First consult with your doctor
  • • Join a specialty class such as prenatal yoga, or a low impact aerobic activity
  • • Begin with 20 to 30 minutes of slow walking three to four times a week
  • • Stretch out gently before and after
  • • Listen to your body – Stop if you experience shortness of breath or discomfort
  • • Stay hydrated

Need some ideas for safe exercises during pregnancy? Check out this video.

"Labor of Love: Physically Active Moms-to-be Give Babies a Head Start on Heart Health." Science Daily: News & Articles in Science, Health, Environment & Technology. Science Daily, 7 Apr. 2011. Web. 18 May 2011. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110407101406.htm

"KCUMB." Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences. KCUMB, 18 Apr. 2008. Web. 18 May 2011. http://www.kcumb.edu/News/maternal_exercise.asp