Exercising While Pregnant May Benefit Infant Health

Exercising while pregnant

Image by Lucas Favre

Daily Exercise During Pregnancy Benefits Infants

Exercising daily is an essential part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Having a regular exercise routine may bring many benefits to one’s physical health, emotional stability, mental state, and even appearance. But how can daily exercise be beneficial to pregnant women who not only have to focus on their own health, but the health of their infant(s) as well?

A balanced exercise routine is not only beneficial to the body of an expectant mother, but also to their general well-being. Activities such as walking, swimming, indoor biking, low-impact aerobics, and yoga are all considered safe activities to engage in during pregnancy. Many studies have shown that women who exercise while pregnant tend to experience reduced body pains during and after pregnancy, improve sleep habits, and show decreased signs of anxiety and depression during the early stages of motherhood. Exercise can also improve the ability to cope with labor and delivery pains and may speed up the body’s post-delivery recovery. After witnessing the positive effects that daily exercise may have on expectant mothers, further studies were performed to determine how daily exercise may also benefit the infant’s life not only within the womb but also into their life after birth.

What Does the Research Say?

Researchers have found that exercising while expecting may benefit the overall function of the baby’s lungs, as well as their quality of life.

In a 2016 study trial, 814 3-month-old infants were monitored for signs of low to normal lung functions. A total of 290 of those babies were born to inactive mothers who were shown to have little to no physical activity before and during pregnancy. 524 babies were born to active mothers who partook in moderate to high physical activity before and during pregnancy. Of the 814 babies monitored, a total of 47 babies resulted in low lung function with the remaining 767 babies resulting in normal to high lung function. 25 of the 290 inactive babies and 22 of the 524 active babies resulted in low lung functions.

At first glance, the numbers do not seem drastic between the two tested categories. It is important to consider the difference in the total number of active to inactive babies that were tested. 8.6% of the babies born to inactive mothers remained in the group with low lung function, compared to 4.2% of the babies born to active mothers. Thus providing evidence to the theory that babies born to active mothers were less likely to have low functioning lungs versus babies born to inactive mothers.

Infants resulting in low lung function may have an increased chance of risk for asthma, possible lung diseases, and lower functioning lungs later in life. Maintaining a relatively active lifestyle before and during pregnancy could be a simple and low-cost way that may improve offspring’s respiratory health. Although many are aware of the health benefits that physical activity may bring to expectant mothers, research continues to monitor infants of active and inactive mothers to find further health-related benefits.


Everyone needs some form of daily exercise to maintain a healthy and sustainable lifestyle. It is important to stay healthy and active− especially while pregnant– as the baby’s life is dependent on the overall health and condition of the mother. If you are pregnant or know someone who is expecting, be sure to consult with a trusted healthcare physician or OBGYN about safe ways for mom and baby to stay healthy both during and after pregnancy.


We hope that this information on infant lung health is useful to you.

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