Monday, November 11, 2013

Exercise during pregnancy may help baby's brain

Here's another reason to get moving while pregnant: a new study found that as little as 20 minutes of exercise three times per week can help boost baby's brain.

Researchers at the University of Montreal found that the babies of mothers in the study who exercised had brains that were more fully developed.

The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists recommends moderate exercise, about 30 minutes almost daily, during pregnancy to help improve back aches, prevent pregnancy-associated diabetes and improve sleep.

"Walking is a great exercise for pregnant women," said Dr. Noushin Firouzbakht, OB/GYN on the medical staff at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth. "Yoga, relaxation exercises and stretching exercises are also excellent options. I tell my patients to walk three to five times per week and ask them not to do high-impact exercise or heavy lifting after the first trimester."

High-impact exercise includes things like running, kickboxing and Zumba workouts, she said.

Moms can also start walking again immediately after delivery -- as soon as they're able to tolerate it, she said. Depending on the type of delivery, high-impact exercises may need to wait up to six weeks.

Talk with your doctor about an exercise routine that will work best for you and your baby.

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