HealthDay News — Exercise during pregnancy may improve early neuromotor development of infant offspring, according to a study published in the August issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.
Amy Gross McMillan, PhD, PT, from the College of Allied Health Sciences at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina, and colleagues randomly assigned 71 healthy pregnant women (aged 18 to 35 years) to either aerobic exercise intervention (50 minutes of moderate-intensity, supervised aerobic exercise 3 times per week) or usual activity (control). Neuromotor skills in infants were measured at 1 month of age using the Peabody Developmental Motor Scales, 2nd Edition (PDMS-2).
The researchers found that infants of women in the exercise group had higher PDMS-2 scores for 4 of the 5 variables compared with infants of usual-activity mothers. In the control group, female infants tended to have better scores compared with male infants. This difference was reduced in infants of exercisers.
“Exercise during pregnancy can positively influence developing systems allowing for improved neuromotor development, thus leading to infants who are more adept at movement, and presumably more likely to be active,” the authors write.