A new study found offspring born to mice that exercised during pregnancy were less likely to gain weight after consuming a high-fat diet later in life. Previous studies have shown exercise by obese females during pregnancy benefits their offpsring, but this is the first study to suggest the same holds true for women who aren’t obese.
Researchers examined the offspring of mice that performed an hour of moderate intensity exercise every morning during pregnancy. Offspring born to mice that didn't exercise were used as a control group. At the time of weaning, offspring of the mice who exercised showed increased levels of proteins associated with brown adipose tissue—the type of tissue that converts fat and sugar into heat. They also noticed higher body temperature in the exercise group, which indicates that their brown adipose tissue was more efficient in preventing obesity and metabolic problems.
The offspring then followed a high-fat diet for eight weeks after weaning. The mice who were in the exercise group gained less weight on the high-fat diet, as well as showed fewer symptoms of metabolic diseases, such as diabetes and fatty liver disease.
"Our data suggest that the lack of exercise in healthy women during pregnancy can predispose their children to obesity and associated metabolic diseases partially through impairing thermogenic function," says Jun Seok Son, a doctoral student at the Washington State University who conducted the study.
There are a lot of benefits to incorporating exercise into your pregnancy routine for you and baby. For starters, it helps you achieve your labor goals, keeps baby's weight in check, increases your comfort level and so much more. Need help finding safe pregnancy workouts? Check out a few of our favorite exercises here, and remember to talk to your doctor to decide which routine suits you best.