Title of Abstract

Exercise in Pregnant Athletes

Submitting Student(s)

Morgan Bossler

Faculty Sponsor (for work done with a non-Winthrop mentor)

Janet Wojcik, Ph.D.

College

College of Education

Department

Physical Education, Sport & Human Performance

Abstract

Up until recently, it was recommended that athletes discontinue exercise during pregnancy. This can cause quite a disadvantage for female athletes and physically active females in general. This project aims to evaluate previous recommendations and add support for continued exercise in recommendations for pregnant athletes. There is still some adherence to outdated guidelines, and newer research has explored new scientifically sound guidelines. Evidence supporting exercise during pregnancy included comparison of fertility problems, health of baby at birth, and any health complications in Norwegian athletes and non-athletes and found that there was no risk to baby or mother when continuing pre pregnancy workout levels. Healthy athletes were followed from pregnancy through 12 weeks postpartum as they completed either a medium or high-intensity program and found that pregnant athletes can benefit from a high-intensity program during pregnancy. The general conclusion is to continue exercise as the athlete was doing pre-pregnancy. For example, in a marathon runner, an aerobic recommendation may look like this: Frequency- 5 days per week; intensity- 3-4 days easy pace, 1-2 days race pace; Time- 45-80 miles per week; Type- Running (cycling if there is an injury); Volume- 10,000 steps per day; Progression- 5-10% per week, less as pregnancy continues. Although early recommendations indicated women should cease exercise during pregnancy, recent research has updated those recommendations and demonstrated that not only is exercise during pregnancy safe for the athletic mother and the child, it can actually benefit both.

Start Date

15-4-2022 12:00 PM

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Apr 15th, 12:00 PM

Exercise in Pregnant Athletes

Up until recently, it was recommended that athletes discontinue exercise during pregnancy. This can cause quite a disadvantage for female athletes and physically active females in general. This project aims to evaluate previous recommendations and add support for continued exercise in recommendations for pregnant athletes. There is still some adherence to outdated guidelines, and newer research has explored new scientifically sound guidelines. Evidence supporting exercise during pregnancy included comparison of fertility problems, health of baby at birth, and any health complications in Norwegian athletes and non-athletes and found that there was no risk to baby or mother when continuing pre pregnancy workout levels. Healthy athletes were followed from pregnancy through 12 weeks postpartum as they completed either a medium or high-intensity program and found that pregnant athletes can benefit from a high-intensity program during pregnancy. The general conclusion is to continue exercise as the athlete was doing pre-pregnancy. For example, in a marathon runner, an aerobic recommendation may look like this: Frequency- 5 days per week; intensity- 3-4 days easy pace, 1-2 days race pace; Time- 45-80 miles per week; Type- Running (cycling if there is an injury); Volume- 10,000 steps per day; Progression- 5-10% per week, less as pregnancy continues. Although early recommendations indicated women should cease exercise during pregnancy, recent research has updated those recommendations and demonstrated that not only is exercise during pregnancy safe for the athletic mother and the child, it can actually benefit both.