Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Prenatal Fitness for Mom and BABY

Ya know - when I was pregnant I exercised faithfully every day - one hour. Yes - we have to make modifications to our exercise routines for both Mom & baby safety - however I was at it at least one hour a day. I attributed my very speedy deliveries to my exercise & I was thrilled with that. However, if I would have known 24 years ago when I was pregnant with my first - all that I do now about prenatal fitness for baby's health - I don't think I would have stopped - ever - my physical activity during my waking hours. As a Mom - we know everything is all about our kids - we will do anything for them. We take our prenatal vitamins & hopefully eat a healthy diet, stop smoking (forever I hope) stop drinking - getting our exercise while we are pregnant is right up there in terms of taking care of baby.
As host of Eat Exercise Live - I have the great fortune to talk daily with the ultimate researchers. I am not at the mercy of reading magazines where often times writers are paid to support certain products, beliefs - very often it is more about the money than conveying accurate information.
Recently I have just completed a series of the many blessings we bestow upon our children by exercising throughout our pregnancies. Let me share some of the more overwhelming points.
Thanks to the great research of Dr. Linda May of the Kansas City University of Medicine & Biosciences - we now know that mom's prenatal exercise actually strengthens baby's heart. Exercise is fabulous for everybody's heart - but the placenta adapts providing the developing heart a stronger fetal heart rate. You know the corny song - "a heart beat is a love beat" - what better way to show love to baby by giving him or her a stronger heart. Researchers are tracking these children into childhood - and the news is fabulous. We are seeing long lasting effects of the stronger fetal heart rate. Researchers are still trying to determine the various ways this prenatal exercise can be boosting baby's heart health - but fact is - it is great for us and baby - let's do it!
I also had the privilege of Interviewing brilliant social psychologist Dr. Richard Nisbett of the University of Michigan - author of many books & texts on how we learn - how we acquire intelligence. According to Dr. Nisbett - exercise at all ages - prenatal through seniors - increases IQ & cognitive abilities. We all want Baby Genius - according to Nisbett if we exercise while we are pregnant & we breast feed - we can substantially increase baby's IQ. Again - we keep discovering reasons why this works - the fact is it does. Give baby every opportunity to excel in life.
I think this is absolutely the most fascinating research - There are many studies that show the long term effect of prenatal fitness for mom - how 'bout the one from the IOM that studied women 16 years after the birth of baby - & the women who exercised during pregnancy and had an appropriate weight gain had much lower incidence of metabolic syndrome. How bout the studies that show us women who eat more fast foods during pregnancy not only gain more excess weight themselves - but baby is born with greater adiposity. As I said in a previous article - there is nothing cute about baby fat. However, it is very cool to know we can help make our baby's more intelligent & give them a stronger heart, by moms sticking to an exercise routine through out pregnancy. Imagine how many other benefits there are to prenatal exercise we haven't discovered yet. Everybody wins!

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