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How Exercising When Pregnant Benefits The Baby?

Exercise during most cases is safe during pregnancy. In fact it can also benefit the baby if you are exercising during pregnancy. It is essential for you to remain physically active during your pregnancy and most healthcare providers would also suggest you the same. However, one must remain safe while exercising during pregnancy and must always consult with doctor before exercising.

Exercising just for half an hour on most of the days in a week during pregnancy can actually benefit your health and your baby’s health. You can even exercising for just 20 minutes for 3-4 days in a week and that would also be beneficial in pregnancy. What’s important is to remain active and get the blood flowing well. Now, let’s talk below about how exercising when pregnant benefit the baby.

How Exercising When Pregnant Benefit The Baby?

Baby Become Physically Coordinated Quite Early:

Infants or newborns whose mothers use to exercise during pregnancy might become physically coordinated quite earlier than other newborns. This was found from a captivating study of gestation, jogging and the varying ability of tiny infants for making a fist. The findings from the study add to the growing evidence that exercising during pregnancy can actually strengthen not only the pregnant mother but also her newborn baby and it might also influence on how well the babies move on later on their own.

Let’s See What The Study Talks:

The study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, looked into whether exercise during pregnancy would affect the physical coordination of the babies after birth.(1)

The scientists started by recruiting 71 healthy and pregnant women, and most of them were in the first trimester of their pregnancy and carrying only single baby. They divided these volunteers randomly into two groups, one of which continued with their usual routines; while the other group began exercising and reporting to the University physiology lab 3 times in a week, for a well supervised 500-minutes of session of moderate exertion. In the second group, women jogged, did brisk walk, rode stationary bicycles or joined aerobics classes; and that was dependent on their own preferences, comfort and balance in their pregnancy.

The sessions continued until each of these woman gave childbirth. It was found that the results were quite consistent. Babies or the newborns whose mothers had exercised tended to perform better on almost all the tests. This suggested that these babies had more advanced motor skills. Such gains were notable mostly among the girl children, who generally slightly lag behind boys at this age. However, baby girls who were born from the exercise group displayed the same relatively advanced capabilities physically as the boys in that group and more coordination than baby boys in the control group.

The Baby Born With Less Body Fat:

It is known that women who exercise during pregnancy give birth to healthy babies with less body fat. In one study conducted among 826 mothers and their babies, it was found by researchers that mothers who exercised in the 3rd trimester of their pregnancy gave birth to babies having less body fat. This was reported in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology. In fact, it was also found that woman who burned most calories all through their exercises in the 3rd trimester of their pregnancy, gave birth to babies having 41.1 gram less fat mass as compared to women who exercised the least.

It is explained that prenatal exercise might reduce the amount of fats and glucose that mothers make available for their babies, and thus helping them grow in an optimal level. It is also believed by experts that those babies who are born at healthy weights, are less likely to be obese at a later phase of their life.

It Is Good For The Heart Health Of The Baby:

Exercising when pregnant might also benefit the baby to have a healthy heart. A study of 2011, that compared the cardiac function of babies who were born to mothers leading sedentary pregnancy period and to mothers who worked out during their pregnancy, found that newborns whose mothers exercised in their pregnancy, developed stronger and more athletic hearts even before their birth. These babies had their pulses slower in general.(2)

Exercising During Pregnancy Benefits The Baby To Have Better Functioning Brain:

One study conducted during the year 2013 that was published by researchers at the University of Montreal has compared the cognitive development of babies in two groups. One half of the babies were born to mothers who had at least 20 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio workouts for 3 days in a week, and the other group had babies born to mother who lead a sedentary pregnancy phase.

The researchers in this study compared how the brains of the both groups of babies actually responded to sound at 1 month of age, which is a measure for knowing the cognitive development. It was found that babies those who were born to exercising mothers had more mature functioning of their brain, rather more advanced brains that those babies that were born to less active mothers.

Reduces The Odds Of Diabetes In The Baby:

It is also possible that exercising during pregnancy can also benefit the baby by reducing the odds of diabetes in the child.

A study found that rats that were born to exercising mothers had better insulin sensitivity, even when the baby rats became adults by themselves.


Though exercising during pregnancy is quite beneficial for both mother and the baby, most doctors recommend that women during the first trimester of their pregnancy should avoid exercises that require them to lie flat on their backs. You must avoid activities such as bouncing, leaping, a sudden change of direction, jarring or anything that would cause lots of up and down movements, or any activity that might cause a risk of abdominal injury. Apart from all these, there are also some typical limitations which include downhill skiing, contact sports, horse riding, and scuba diving, as all these sports activities might have a risk of injury.

Final Thoughts:

So, we are aware by now that exercising when pregnant benefits the baby is various ways; and you might be inspired enough to start exercising if you are pregnant and want to have a healthy baby. However, you need to consult with your doctor before starting any sort of exercise during pregnancy and know about its benefits and side effects so as to avoid any unwanted complications.


Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:May 1, 2020

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