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by Eileen Nechas and Laura Beth Potylycki


If you like to exercise, don't stop your regular workout routine when you become pregnant. A new study suggests that women who regularly take aerobics classes or do exercises such as running or swimming and continue their activities throughout their pregnancy have babies who are less fussy, more alert and more interested in their surroundings than those whose moms take it easy.

Researchers, whose study was published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, wanted to find out if newborns' behavior is altered by women's regular workouts during pregnancy. They compared 34 infants from women who worked out with 31 infants whose mothers did not exercise. (The exercising women in the study did aerobics three to eight times per week, ran 12 to 30 miles per week, or swam 4,000 yards three to four times per week). Each baby was given seven behavior tests. The babies whose moms worked out performed significantly higher on two of the tests. These same babies were also less demanding of their mother's attention and less fussy compared to the other infants.

The researchers believe that rigorous movement from exercise might stimulate babies in the womb, triggering certain aspects of brain development. They also pointed out that this effect was not seen in the infants of women who did less rigorous exercises such as lifting weights and low-impact aerobics.

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