Over the years doctors and scientists have debunked the myth that pregnant women shouldn't exercise. In fact, as long as a pregnant woman is in general good health, her doctor will recommend she remain physically active throughout her pregnancy. Of course, a pregnant woman should always consult her doctor to ensure she is in good health, but typically if a woman is physically active before pregnancy, there should be no issues remaining physically active during pregnancy.
While it can often be hard to summon the energy to exercise while pregnant, a new study is suggesting that exercising during pregnancy is not only good for the mother but may help the baby in the long run as well.
Jun Seok Son is a doctoral student at the Washington State University who conducted the study that compared the offspring born to mice who performed 60 minutes of moderate exercise daily during pregnancy to a control group of offspring of mice who didn't exercise during pregnancy. The results of the study found that the offspring born to the mice who exercised during their pregnancy were less likely to gain weight as they grew older, even when fed a high-fat diet, Science Daily reports.
Once the mice were weaned, they were fed a high-fat diet for eight weeks. Researchers noted that the offspring of the mice who exercised during pregnancy gained less weight than the control group and were also in better health.
"Based on our findings, we recommend that women -- whether or not they are obese or have diabetes -- exercise regularly during pregnancy because it benefits their children's metabolic health," Son said.
Research has already shown the positive effects of exercising during pregnancy can have on a pregnant woman. Moderate exercise during pregnancy can help prevent excessive weight gain, and now this study shows it can also possibly help with the health of the unborn child.
"Our data suggest that the lack of exercise in healthy women during pregnancy can predispose their children to obesity and associated metabolic diseases partially through impairing thermogenic function," Son added.
Son plans on doing further research to "better understand the biological mechanisms responsible for the improved metabolic health in offspring of mothers who exercised." While this study may have been on mice, it does make sense that the health of an expectant mother would affect the health of the unborn child. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends pregnant women remain active upon the approval of their doctor throughout their pregnancy, stating that exercise has been shown to be beneficial to most women, and now it seems it also benefits their unborn baby.