The January 27, 2001 British Medical Journal published the results of a new study that showed that exercise during pregnancy may increase birth weight. The study done at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, followed 46 women who were not exercising by their eighth week of pregnancy.
These women were divided into two groups. One group was placed on a mild exercise regime while the other was not. The results showed that women who exercised gave birth to babies who were significantly heavier and longer than those babies born to women who did not exercise.
In a related article also in the British Medical Journal, was the results of another study that showed that larger babies are smarter and develop into children who perform better in school than smaller babies. The study considered a birth weight of 5.5 pounds to be normal. The lead author of the study, Dr. Marcus Richard of Britain’s Medical Research Council states, “It seems clear that birth weight has an influence on cognitive function.” He did go on to state, “Birth weight is only one of the numerous factors that influence cognitive function.”
The study did say that in follow ups of the effects of birth weight on intelligence, the effects were most noticeable under the age of 26. By the age of 43 there were no noticeable effects.