New research reviewing studies on exercise in pregnancy has found that vigorous exercise is ‘safe and healthy’ for women in their third trimester.
It has long been established that moderate physical activity can be hugely beneficial for pregnant women, with active expectant mothers being less likely to suffer health complications.
But there has been conflicting information about more intense exercise, particularly in the third trimester of pregnancy, with many women choosing to stop running or going to the gym for fear of causing any damage.
However, the new research, collated by The Conversation, found that vigorous exercise appears to be safe for a pregnant mother and her baby, even when it’s continued into the third trimester.
The review looked at the results of 15 studies in total – which covered 32,703 pregnant women. Across the studies, none showed any meaningful increase in risk when it came to vigorous exercise.
For expectant mums who were overweight to begin with, continuing vigorous exercise did appear to reduce maternal weight gain – although it didn’t have an effect for women who were already at a healthy weight.
The research also found that exercise was associated with a slightly lower chance of a baby being born premature.
So what counts a vigorous exercise?
It basically means exercising to an intensity where you struggle to maintain a conversation, but can still manage a sentence. Like jogging, circuits, or interval training on a spin bike.
High intensity training is where you’re working at 90% of your maximum heart rate or above, and you can’t speak a full sentence. The researchers don’t know what risks high intensity training carries for pregnant women.
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