Exercising during pregnancy may benefit your baby's heart

New research reveals that prenatal yoga classes and other low-impact aerobic activities can not only benefit the health of mothers-to-be but also their babies' heart health
after birth.

In new research presented at the annual meeting Experimental Biology 2011 in Washington DC this week, US researchers from Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences revealed that exercising when pregnant at least 30 minutes three times a week boosted babies' cardiovascular heart up to one month after birth, which indicates that mothers' efforts to stay active have lasting effects.

The research follows a 2008 pilot study conducted by the team that found that pregnant women who exercised had fetuses with lower heart rates - a sign of heart health, researchers say – during the final weeks of development.

In a 2010 study, researchers at the University of Auckland in New Zealand also reported that a mother's regular aerobic exercise may be good for a growing fetus's health in that it led to a modest reduction in baby birth weight. Since increased size at birth is associated with greater risk for the development of obesity in childhood, the research suggests that exercising moms-to-be can help give babies a healthy start.

Before beginning any exercise program while pregnant, especially if you’re overweight or are new to exercise, talk with your doctor about the best options for you. WedMD suggests that the safest activities for pregnant women are swimming, brisk walking, indoor stationary cycling, step or elliptical machines, and low-impact aerobics taught by a certified instructor.

Jogging can be done in moderation, especially if you were a jogger before your pregnancy. Avoid activities that require you to hold your breath, or where there is any risk of falling or other jarring motions. Also avoid exercising in hot, humid weather.

More advice from WedMD: http://www.webmd.com/baby/guide/exercise-during-pregnancy

Parenting website Babycenter.com also offers a comprehensive guide to exercising while pregnant: http://www.babycenter.com/pregnancy-exercises

Or watch:

The Pregnancy Health Guru's guide to exercising when pregnant:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=075jnWl3FMs

StrollerStridesFit shares three core exercises:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=075jnWl3FMs

Yoga for each trimester by MomsIntoFitness:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K07RyUBOFFI
(pre-pregnancy and first)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qqClZktujn4
(second)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=npiYdOK2-P4
(third)

Swimming and water exercises with Aqua Mom Aerobics:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pbWVL9Fg74E

 

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