Does Working Out During Pregnancy Make Your Baby Brainy?

Pregnant women exercising in pool
Pregnant women exercising in pool

Exercise when you're pregnant... don't exercise when you're pregnant. There's a lot of conflicting advice out there - but the latest research MIGHT be the 'do it' clincher if you're pregnant.

Neuroscientists at the University of Montreal in Canada have discovered that working out during pregnancy makes babies more intelligent.

They claim that three 20-minute sessions a week help boost brain development in the womb, resulting in brighter children.

The Daily Mail reports the researchers played sounds to the babies and then monitored their brain activity. They then established that the newborns whose mums had exercised during pregnancy showed greater brain development

"We are optimistic that this will encourage women to change their health habits, given that the simple act of exercising during pregnancy could make a difference for their child's future," the reports authors said.

The 'research' involved getting 10 (yes, that's 10) pregnant women to exercise enough to leave them slightly short of breath at least three times a week. The women did an average of almost two hours of exercise, ranging from walking briskly, to running, cycling and swimming.

A second group did not work out at all, and so were only moderately active for around 10 minutes a week.

When their babies were born and as they slept in their mums' laps, the researchers measured their brain activity and played them a bleeping noise repeatedly. Occasionally, the bleeps were interrupted by a second sound.

It was found that the newborns whose mums had exercised found it easier to tell the two sounds apart, which the scientists claim is a sign of maturity, and that their brains had developed more rapidly.

"Our research indicates that exercise during pregnancy enhances the newborn's brain development," concluded lead author Professor Dave Ellemberg.

Well now you know!