Most moms-to-be have likely heard about the benefits of exercising during pregnancy in terms of keeping their own weight in check and avoiding birth complications, but now a new study shows that prenatal exercise affects the weight of the baby-to-be. The new research, published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology, shows that mothers who exercise regularly throughout their pregnancy reduce their chance of having a C-section by 20%. Plus, this study offers growing evidence that mothers who exercise have babies who weigh less. Exercise decreasing baby weight is an important finding because babies who are born heavier may weigh more throughout their lives than babies who start life out at a average weight. As defined by the The Center for Disease Control (CDC), a normal birth weight is between 5.5 lbs. and 8.8 lbs., which is a good goal to aim for because research shows that babies who weigh more than 9 pounds at birth may face an increased risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer and even neurological problems over their lifetime. If you’d like to incorporate exercise into your pregnancy, see 7 safe exercises for pregnancy to get started.

RELATED | HOW TO: Exercise with baby in tow as a busy, exhausted parent!

+ Exercise during pregnancy lowers risk of C-section, too-big baby

+ The Effect of Supervised Prenatal Exercise on Fetal Growth: A Meta-analysis

Lead Image via Shutterstock