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Today, The Visible Embryo is linked to over 600 educational institutions and is viewed by more than 1 million visitors each month. The field of early embryology has grown to include the identification of the stem cell as not only critical to organogenesis in the embryo, but equally critical to organ function and repair in the adult human. The identification and understanding of genetic malfunction, inflammatory responses, and the progression in chronic disease, begins with a grounding in primary cellular and systemic functions manifested in the study of the early embryo.

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Pregnancy Timeline by SemestersFetal liver is producing blood cellsHead may position into pelvisBrain convolutions beginFull TermWhite fat begins to be madeWhite fat begins to be madeHead may position into pelvisImmune system beginningImmune system beginningPeriod of rapid brain growthBrain convolutions beginLungs begin to produce surfactantSensory brain waves begin to activateSensory brain waves begin to activateInner Ear Bones HardenBone marrow starts making blood cellsBone marrow starts making blood cellsBrown fat surrounds lymphatic systemFetal sexual organs visibleFinger and toe prints appearFinger and toe prints appearHeartbeat can be detectedHeartbeat can be detectedBasic Brain Structure in PlaceThe Appearance of SomitesFirst Detectable Brain WavesA Four Chambered HeartBeginning Cerebral HemispheresFemale Reproductive SystemEnd of Embryonic PeriodEnd of Embryonic PeriodFirst Thin Layer of Skin AppearsThird TrimesterSecond TrimesterFirst TrimesterFertilizationDevelopmental Timeline
CLICK ON weeks 0 - 40 and follow along every 2 weeks of fetal development
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Home | Pregnancy Timeline | News Alerts |News Archive Nov 12, 2013

 

As little as 20 minutes of moderate exercise three times per week during pregnancy
enhances a newborn child's brain development.
This head-start could have an impact on the child's entire life.

Image Credit: Universite de Montreal







WHO Child Growth Charts

 

 

 

Pregnant exercise boosts newborn brain development

As little as 20 minutes 3 times per week is enough to enhance brain activity.

According to researchers at the University of Montreal and its affiliated CHU Sainte-Justine children's hospital, as little as 20 minutes of moderate exercise three times per week during pregnancy enhances the newborn child's brain development.

This head-start could have an impact on the child's entire life.

"Our research indicates that exercise during pregnancy enhances the newborn child's brain development," explained Professor Dave Ellemberg, who led the study. "While animal studies have shown similar results, this is the first randomized controlled trial in humans to objectively measure the impact of exercise during pregnancy directly on the newborn's brain. We hope these results will guide public health interventions and research on brain plasticity. Most of all, we are optimistic that this will encourage women to change their health habits, given that the simple act of exercising during pregnancy could make a difference for their child's future."

Ellemberg and his colleagues Professor Daniel Curnier and PhD candidate Élise Labonté-LeMoyne presented their findings Monday at the Neuroscience 2013 congress in San Diego.

Not so long ago, obstetricians would tell women to take it easy and rest during their pregnancy. Recently, the tides have turned and it is now commonly accepted that inactivity is actually a health concern.


"While being sedentary increases the risks of suffering complications during pregnancy, being active can ease post-partum recovery, make pregnancy more comfortable and reduce the risk of obesity in the children."

"Given that exercise has been demonstrated to be beneficial for the adult's brain, we hypothesized that it could also be beneficial for the unborn child through the mother's actions."

Daniel Curnier and PhD candidate Élise Labonté-LeMoyne, Montreal , Canada


To verify this, starting at the beginning of their second trimester, women were randomly assigned to an exercise group or a sedentary group.

Women in the exercise group had to perform at least 20 minutes of cardiovascular exercise three times per week at a moderate intensity, which should lead to at least a slight shortness of breath. Women in the sedentary group did not exercise. The brain activity of the newborns was assessed between the ages of 8 to 12 days, by means of electroencephalography, which enables the recording of the electrical activity of the brain.

"We used 124 soft electrodes placed on the infant's head and waited for the child to fall asleep on his or her mother's lap. We then measured auditory memory by means of the brain's unconscious response to repeated and novel sounds," Labonté-LeMoyne said. "Our results show that the babies born from the mothers who were physically active have a more mature cerebral activation, suggesting that their brains developed more rapidly."

The researchers are now in the process of evaluating the children's cognitive, motor and language development at age 1 to verify if these differences are maintained.

 

Original press release:http://www.eurekalert.org/multimedia/pub/64151.php?from=253062