While nothing in this world is guaranteed, let’s pretend for a minute that you could increase the odds of your baby being born healthy with a smoother and safer arrival. How much would you pay to increase those odds in your baby’s favor, $500, $1000, $2500, $5000, $10,000? Would there be a price too high?
Assuming you are getting regular prenatal care from a qualified practitioner, taking your prenatal vitamins, and avoiding harmful substances, there IS an additional way to give your baby better odds of being born healthy with a safer arrival. The dollar cost is modest at best. The biggest investment is your time (which everyone has the same amount of) and commitment. It is one of the most powerful tools you have to ensure the healthiest outcome possible for your baby. Exercise!
Imagine your baby inside you with his or her little heart beating regularly and rhythmically. It’s the most beautiful sound a mother can hear. Did you know that as you exercise and your heart rate rises, your baby’s heart rate increases as well? As a result your baby gets a passive benefit from your cardiovascular exercise. Their heart will adapt to this temporary rate increase by becoming stronger and able to pump more blood in fewer beats. That’s what exercise does for everyone, and your baby gets this gift as a result of your diligent and loving care through prenatal exercise.
This safe and lowered heart rate can be critical because during the rigorous demands in labor, some babies can experience difficulty pumping blood fast enough to meet their needs. If a baby is experiencing some such difficulty and has a naturally lower heart rate due to this training effect, they can more easily increase their heart rate to compensate. This is much more preferable to having a baby whose heart rate is already in the upper ranges of what is considered normal and safe.
A recent study looked at this very thing and discovered that even up to a month after birth they could tell the difference between the babies born to either exercising or sedentary moms by the heart rate of the baby. This is exciting because it shows the effect of moms exercise on a baby’s heart is real! Because of this difference, the need to intervene with a c-section due to fetal heart rate issues is far less likely for exercising mothers. How amazing is that?
Now that you know about this incredible gift you can give to your baby, it’s up to you to find a way to pay the price. It doesn’t have to be complicated, but you should be consistent in your efforts. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend AT LEAST 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week. Carve out the time, the benefits are real and well worth your effort. If you need additional support to stick with it or get help with what kind of workouts are safe and best for you, Mia Mama Fitness is here to help.
As a health and fitness professional, I’m aware that not all pregnant women should exercise. Please be sure to involve your prenatal care provider and ensure there are no safety concerns in your particular case. There is also a chance that some babies will be born with medical problems no matter how diligent and health conscious mom is.