Monday, January 17, 2011

The Benefits of Prenatal Exercise

Hoss and I getting ready for a walk (known to Hoss as a "sniff, sniff") in my second trimester

I get silly updates from pregnancy sites on a daily basis. I call them silly because they aren't usually all that helpful, but I like to skim them anyway because they occasionally have small nuggets of advice. I received this one recently:

Babies of pregnant exercisers tend to sleep through the night sooner, are less prone to colic, and are better able to soothe themselves. Scientists attribute this to these babies being stimulated by their moms through changes in heart rate and oxygen levels, as well as the sounds and vibrations they experience in the womb during workouts.

It resonated with me because I believe in deep interconnections and causes and effects that may not be overtly obvious. I mean, who would have thought to link prenatal exercise to lessened rates of colic? Throughout my pregnancy, I've tried to make plenty of time for walking and one yoga class a week, but I thought I was doing it to have a healthier pregnancy and birth. I didn't realize there might also be a lasting effect on the baby.

But then again, I'm not surprised. I named this blog "Feeding the Soil" because of the organic farming adage that we should feed the soil, not the plants. If we want to produce healthy results, we have to start deep down at the roots. We have to start with a healthy foundation. We can't just apply short-term fixes to the leaves and expect miracles.

Of course, even as I work hard to prepare a healthy foundation because I believe that "chance favors a prepared mind," I also work to acknowledge the limitations of our control. We can control all the inputs we want, but we still can't control the outputs. I do feel better, however, knowing that there is often a very strong relationship between what we put into life and what we get out of it.

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Rosalie said...

That's an interesting piece of info, never heard of that.
However I constantly wonder if my diet/health in pregnancy affected my daughter's severe reflux at all. She still doesn't sleep through (at 10 months) apart from occasionally. I did do prenatal yoga every week but that was the extent of my exercise apart from walking. My diet wasn't great, to start with I couldn't stomach much and then later on just craved sugary things.
Mental health wise I think I did really well thanks to hypnobirthing practice each day. I felt calm and relaxed. And had a wonderful drug free home birth with very little discomfort thanks to it.
Next time round the aim is for healthy eating and exercise! I will have a toddler to chase after for a start :)
I agree with you some things can't be prevented or planned for with preparation but a lot of benefit can be gained and it's worth trying to make things for yourself and baby better in any way you can.

Anonymous said...

Whenever I hear something like this, I think: causation or correlation?

Mothers whose pregnancies are complication free are able to exercise, and of course if your pregnancy is complication free you'll be more likely to have a healthy baby.

Rosalie said...

That's true, although mine was totally complication free. It would be interesting to see where the information comes from, whether the study shows if the pregnancies and births were complication free.

nc said...

Very interesting- and enough to keep my going to my prenatal strength classes!

Just wanted to say hello - I've been following your blogs since planning my wedding in 2008. Now I have a baby on the way, due in early April, and it's been great following along with you on this journey, too!


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