Whether you’ve got a bun in the oven already or are pretty sure that one day you plan to join the motherhood club, this is news you need to know. Post-pregnancy workouts get all the attention—but exercising before you deliver pays off big for your new baby. A new study found that regular workouts during pregnancy increased the rate of baby brain development. In other words, an expectant mother’s gym sessions can make her baby smarter.
The details: Researchers from the University of Montreal studied the brain activity of newborns from two groups of new mothers. One group exercised at a moderate level for 20 minutes at least three times a week while they were pregnant; the other group didn’t work out at all during pregnancy. When all the babies’ brains were tested, the researchers discovered that the cognitive activity of the babies whose mums broke a sweat was more fully developed.
The study authors aren’t sure if the brain boost lasts past the infant stage; they’re currently testing older babies to find out. But it’s smart advice if you’re currently knocked up—or you plan to pop out a kid in the near future. Add it to the list of other reasons why working out is good for mum and baby: moderate exercise eases backaches, lowers the risk of pregnancy-related diabetes, and can help you sleep better. For baby, it’s linked to decreased odds of obesity.
This article originally appeared on Women’s Health US
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