Can You Make Your Baby Smarter?

BellyBellyI worked out during both of my pregnancies. With my first, I quit working out when I found myself at five months pregnant, puking on my neighbor's lawn during a run. After that, I did yoga three times a week. I still gained over 60 pounds, and it took nine months, plus training for a half marathon for me to lose all the weight. With my second, I did cardio on the elliptical five times a week right up until he was born. I gained only 40 pounds and now, four months postpartum, I'm using Jillian Michaels DVDs to help me blast off the last 10 pounds. Which aren't budging, no matter how many times Ms. Michaels tells me to "hit it!" Thanks for nothing, exercise.

I worked out during my pregnancies, not because I thought it would help my babies, but because honestly, I'm a little vain. And new pants just don't grow on trees.

Related: 10 real mom tips for finding time to work out

But as it turns out, the benefits of exercising aren't for me, they are for the baby. New research reveals that working out aids in fetal brain development:

"The study involving 18 moms-to-be and their babies found that "at 10 days, the children have a more mature brain when their mothers exercised during the pregnancy," said study researcher Elise Labonte-LeMoyne, a PhD candidate in kinesiology at the University of Montreal.

Researchers surmise that advantages may lead to better language later on in life and will continue tracking the children in their study to see if the slight advantage persists. But if you didn't work out during your pregnancy, don't burn that early application to Harvard just yet. Environment and genetics play a far more crucial role in determining the intelligence of your child than how many squats you did at nine months pregnant. I also wonder if the study controlled for things like the IQ of the parents when determining the participants in the study.

-By Lyz Lenz

For 7 easy ways to have a healthier pregnancy, visit BabyZone!

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