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How activity during pregnancy could impact infant motor development

In the 2021 study, “Maternal Sedentary Behavior and Physical Activity across Pregnancy and Early Childhood Motor Development,” Jones et al. aimed to determine whether a mother’s physical activity levels during pregnancy could predict more advanced motor skills during early childhood. The study had successfully recruited 70 mothers from the previous MOnitoring Movement Health (MoM) study, which had objectively measured each participant’s activity levels during pregnancy. The parents’ physical activities were categorized as moderately to vigorously active (MVPA) or inactive to low-intensity activities (SED). They also conducted a follow-up questionnaire called the Early Motor Questionnaire (EMQ) in which parents reported their 13-to 30-month-old children’s general, precise, and reactive motor abilities. The study finds that MVPA parents are significantly associated with children with higher scores of precise and reactive movement skills than SED parents. The findings are important to parents as early childhood motor development has been observed as a predictive factor of healthy development in other domains (behavioral, social, cognitive, etc.). The study suggests that the more active mothers are during pregnancy, the healthier their children’s development will be.

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