By now it's pretty old news that exercise is beneficial for pregnancy
but a new study by the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences has some evidence to suggest that exercising regularly during your pregnancy could reduce the risk of cot death for your developing baby.
The study wanted to find if cardiovascular and respiratory functions were improved in the foetus as a result of exposure to maternal exercise. In particular they were looking for increased "breathing movements" in the foetuses of mothers who exercised during pregnancy as compared with those who did no exercise during pregnancy.
Now obviously your baby doesn't actually "breathe" whilst he's snuggled up in your belly as he gets everything he needs through the umbilical cord, but he does practice breathing, which indicates how well his respiratory and nervous system are developing.
What they found was that the breathing movement and the nervous system was better developed in babies of mothers who exercised during pregnancy than those who didn't.
Dr Linda May explained, that understanding more about how to improve the development of babies' nervous system could help to learn more about the causes of cot death.
" Some researchers think it has to do with something being wrong in the central nervous system, which affects respiration. Babies aren't able to wake up and breath for themselves if they need to."
So with this study showing that babies of mothers who exercise during pregnancy have a more mature and developed respiratory system, it suggests that these babies will be less likely to suffer from cot death after birth.
How Much Exercise Is Enough?
So what do you really need to do to improve your baby's nervous system and development?
Well firstly movement every day is essential,which means taking at least 15 minutes daily to get up and have a walk or do some other physical activity that gets you moving around continuously for a 15 minute period.
With regards to your planned pregnancy fitness program it is best to break it down into frequent sessions on most days of the week, rather than saving it all up for one or two long borinng sessions at the gym.
One great way to structure your pregnancy exercise routine is to focus on short-sharp-burst training sessions for 15 minutes on 6 days of the week.
15 minutes is long enough to give you a really good pregnancy workout as long as you know how to workout and how to monitor the intensity of your pregnancy exercise routine.
You should be focussing on whole body resistance based exercises like squats and deadlifts which use all 600 odd muscles in the body, as well as targeting the key pregnancy support muscles like the bottom, the midback and the core.
These types of exercises will burn the most energy and get you maximum results from your pregnancy fitness program in the shortest amount of time.
Combining this type of resistance training with 15 -20 minute interval training sessions will soon change your body shape and you should see your pregnancy fitness levels soar in just a few short weeks.