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Exercising while pregnant may benefit your baby's long-term health

There are many benefits of exercise during pregnancy, but this is the first time researchers have found a link to offspring's long-term health

New research has found that exercise during pregnancy may lead to children’s long-term health benefits, reports Psychology Today.

Researchers from the University of Kentucky, led by associate professor Kevin Pearson of the university’s Department of Pharmacology and Nutritional Sciences, found that the offspring of mice who exercised had better stress resistance and improved insulin sensitivity compared to those born to sedentary mothers. These traits were carried into adulthood.

benefits of exercise during pregnancy

Though the study was conducted on rodents, the researchers believe that this can probably be applied to humans too. “Our findings highlight pregnancy as a sensitive period when positive lifestyle interventions could have significant and long-lasting beneficial effects on offspring metabolism and disease risk,” the research team wrote in a media release.

These findings are consistent with the recommendations of plenty of medical experts, who have been recommending exercise during pregnancy for reasons other than the child’s long-term health.

"You need to be physically active during pregnancy,” high-risk pregnancy expert Dr. Laura Riley tells WebMD. “It has terrific benefits that are associated with a better pregnancy outcome and even shorter labors. It's a win-win for baby and for mom.”

On the next page: tips on exercising safely while pregnant.

Here are a few tips from BabyCenter on how to exercise safely while pregnant

How much exercise is safe for pregnancy?

One rule of thumb is if you exercised regularly before pregnancy, you can probably continue your exercise regime. However, it’s best to consult with your doctor first, especially if you want to start or change your exercise routine.

Choose safe sports

You should definitely use your common sense when choosing your exercises. Avoid contact sports like basketball, as well as those that come with a risk of falling—surfing, rock climbing, mountain biking, etc.

benefits of exercise during pregnancy Photo: Dreamstime

Don’t exercise in high heat

When you’re pregnant, you get overheated faster because of your increased blood flow and higher metabolic rate. If you’re feeling dizzy, nauseated, or short of breath, stop and cool off. Make sure that you stay hydrated as well.

Moderation is key

Now is not the time to push your body to the limit. You should be able to do at least 20-30 minutes of exercise, but moderately.

READ: Pregnancy Exercise: 5 Easy workouts for every trimester

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