Smarter Kids from Active Mums?
It isn't exactly surprising news that being active has health benefits. The same holds true for pregnant women. Staying active helps a woman to stay healthy during her pregnancy. But researchers think it extends even further than that – pregnant women who are active throughout the pregnancy may be more likely to have smarter children. Smarter in this case means improved memories, alertness, memories and coordination.
Activity and IntelligenceWe already know from previous studies on animals that activity during pregnancy could improve the intelligence of the resulting offspring. In this new study, it is suggested that pregnant women who partake in exercise three times each week will give birth to babies that have a better ability to retain memories.
Researchers believe that the study will show that women who exercise throughout their pregnancy have babies that have enhanced mature cognitive functions. This will possibly be more pronounced when we look at their long-term memory.
Previous Research on MumsPrevious research has been somewhat limited on how active mums can provide benefits to their babies' intelligence. One small study found that the women who exercised throughout their pregnancy had babies who scored higher on a general test of intelligence as well as tests for language. These babies were more alert and tended to do better on tests of coordination.
Animal Studies on Pregnant RatsIn a study on rats several years ago, researchers put exercise wheels in the cages of one set of pregnant rats. The other cages contained pregnant rats but no exercise wheels. Researchers found that the offspring of the exercising rats had more cells in the part of the brain responsible for learning and memory.
The unfortunate and obvious limitation of the experiment, however, was that scientists couldn't confirm the findings through cognitive testing. The best approach would have been to use behavioural tests but the rats had to be dissected to examine their brains.