Exercising While Pregnant Brings Benefits to Infant Lungs
We hear it all the time: exercising daily is an essential part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. That charge also applies to expecting mothers. A balanced, regular exercise routine is not only beneficial to the body of an expectant mother but also to their physical and emotional well-being. Activities such as walking, swimming, indoor biking, low-impact aerobics, and yoga are all considered safe activities to participate in during pregnancy. Many studies have proven that women who exercise while pregnant tend to experience reduced body pains during and after pregnancy, improved sleep habits, and decreased symptoms of anxiety and depression during the early stages of motherhood. Exercise can also improve the mother’s ability to cope with labor and delivery pains and may speed up post-delivery recovery processes. After witnessing the positive benefits that daily exercise has on expectant mothers, further studies were performed to determine how their daily exercise may also benefit their unborn children.
Infants With Low Lung Function Improve
Researchers have found that exercising while expecting may benefit the overall function of the infant’s lungs as well as their quality of life later on.
In a 2016 study trial, 814 3-month-old infants were monitored for signs of low to normal lung functions. A total of 290 babies were born to inactive mothers who had little to no physical activity before and during pregnancy. 524 babies were born to active mothers who partook in moderate to high physical activity before and during pregnancy. Of the 814 babies monitored, a total of 47 babies developed low lung function with the remaining 767 babies resulting in normal to high lung function. Of the 47 babies, 25 of the 290 inactive babies, and 22 of the 524 active babies had underdeveloped lungs.
At first glance, the numbers between the two tested groups do not seem drastic. However, it is important to consider the difference in the total number of active to inactive babies that were tested. 8.6% of the babies born to inactive mothers remained in the group with low lung function, compared to 4.2% of the babies born to active mothers. Thus displaying evidence that babies born to active mothers were less likely to have low functioning lungs versus babies born to inactive mothers.
The Dangers of Low Lung Function
Infants with low lung function may have an increased chance of developing asthma, various lung diseases, and struggle with respiratory health later in life. Maintaining a relatively active lifestyle before and during pregnancy could be a simple and low-cost intervention that can benefit a child’s life long term. Although many are aware of the health benefits that physical activity can bring to expectant mothers, research continues to monitor infants of active and inactive mothers to find further health-related benefits.
Everyone needs some form of daily exercise to maintain a healthy and sustainable lifestyle. It is important to stay healthy and active−especially while pregnant as the baby’s life is dependent on the overall health and condition of the mother. If you are pregnant or know someone who is expecting, be sure to consult with a trusted healthcare physician or OBGYN about safe ways for mom and baby to stay happy and healthy during pregnancy.
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