Existing guidelines pertaining to physical activity during pregnancy encourage the continuation or adoption of an active lifestyle during and following pregnancy. However, a high proportion of women do not follow these guidelines during pregnancy, increasing their risk of obesity, gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), and other diseases and complaints. Conversely, there exists a population of enthusiastic exercisers and elite athletes who are apt to meet or even exceed these guidelines. Currently, no guidelines have been developed for these women, leaving questions about safety with high levels of exercise during pregnancy unanswered. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has undertaken a series of meetings to develop consensus statements with three aims:
  1. To summarize common conditions, illnesses, and complaints during pregnancy and after childbirth that may interfere with strenuous exercise and competition;
  2. to provide recommendations for exercise training for high-level exercisers and elite athletes during pregnancy and following childbirth; and
  3. to identify major gaps in the literature which may limit the ability of experts to confidently make recommendations.
This work was published in a series of five papers in the British Journal of Sports Medicine (2016-2018), four of which are summarized in this 2-part Review (Part 4 of the series dealt specifically with research recommendations, so we chose to focus on the clinical aspects in this series series). Part 1 focuses on exercise in women planning to become pregnant or who are pregnant, as well as clinical issues that can arise…Part 2 is coming up next week. LOG IN OR SUBSCRIBE TO ACCESS THE FULL REVIEW!
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