Pregnancy. A time of growth, anticipation, and excitement for the future—accompanied by the occasional mood swing and bout of morning sickness. There’s preparation in the nursery, child proofing everything, and taking on the tedious task of installing the car seat. Trust me, if you’ve never done it before, it’s no task for the easily frustrated. But what about preparation for your child’s motor development?
New studies show that a mother who participates in a regular workout regimen throughout her pregnancy is actually preparing her child for physical development. Now, I know, if you ask your own mothers or grandparents if it’s safe to work out while pregnant, they will look at you sideways. Research shows, though, that exercise is good for mother and baby at the same time. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, pregnant women should participate in 150 minutes of aerobic exercise per week. Even if you were not working out before getting pregnant, it is still safe and recommended to participate in physical exercise. Not only will it decrease your chances of complication in birth and help curve postpartum depression, but the physical activity will prepare your child for gross and fine motor development before they’re even born. To read more about the benefits and recommendations for working out while pregnant, visit the ACOG website.
What does a few month’s difference matter in terms of infant development? Think about how much changes when a kid starts to roll, crawl, and walk. The first few months a baby is exposed to whatever they are set in front of. If the baby is never in the kitchen while their parent’s make dinner, they won’t begin to understand the concept of cooking until they can move themselves to the kitchen. They don’t begin to understand ideas that are above floor level if they are never placed above floor level. So, when a child begins to walk 3 months earlier than their counterparts, they gain 3 months of exposure earlier than others their age. They develop hand eye coordination, balance, muscle recruitment, and endurance at a faster rate which can launch them stages above the children still learning to sit up.
Even aside from the “faster, stronger, smarter” mentality that comes from early development, children that are exposed to a healthy exercise routine at a young age are more likely to continue it in to adulthood. This decreases their chances of becoming obese and developing diseases as a result of inactivity.
So, take a step back from planning for the “what ifs” and focus on “what is”. Mommas, take care of yourselves. Development a regular exercise routine where you can focus on yourself. The results will carry in to your children. Even if your baby is already here, consider starting an exercise routine with your kids. You could be building the foundation for their future.
Ready to jump in to a more active future? Or not really sure where to start? To learn more about our women’s fitness specialist Katelynn Post give us a call to set up a consultation where we can get started with an individualized workout plan that meets you and your baby’s needs.
Read more from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.