Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects


Kinesiology, Recreation, and Sport

Document Type



INTRODUCTION: The choices a mother makes during pregnancy (diet and exercise) and postpartum (environmental stimuli, sleeping situation, feeding practices) could influence a child’s motor skills immediately after birth and into childhood. The objective of this experiment is twofold: 1) to determine factors that may influence infant motor development scores at 4 and 12 months of age, and 2) to determine whether infant motor scores at 4 months of age predict infant motor scores at 12 months of age. METHODS: Infant motor development was assessed by a pediatric physical therapist using the Alberta Infant Motor Scale (4 months) and the Peabody Developmental Motor Scales Second Edition (PDMS-2) Test (12 months). Data on other factors that could influence infant motor behavior were collected via surveys and accelerometers. RESULTS: 31 women-infant pairs participated. Physical activity during pregnancy and tummy time during infancy were not related to infant motor scores at either time point. However, infants who were still breastfed had higher motor scores at 4 months (p=0.006). Infant motor development percentiles at 4 months were positively correlated to infant motor development percentiles at 12 months (r=.649, p=.009). CONCLUSION: Breastfeeding may contribute to improved motor development, and motor development in early infancy may predict later motor behaviors.

Advisor(s) or Committee Chair

Dr. Rachel Tinius, Dr. Karen Furgal, Dr. Sonia Young


Exercise Science | Kinesiology