Debunking common misconceptions on exercise during pregnancy, a new study carried out by Polytechnic University of Madrid has revealed that exercising up to the end of pregnancy has no harmful effect on the weight or size of the foetus.
"An exercise regime carried out during the second and third trimester of pregnancy does not harm the health of the foetus", said Jonatan R. Ruiz, researcher at the Karolinska Institute, Sweden, and principal author of this study, who has coordinated a team from the Polytechnic University of Madrid in collaboration with the Swedish centre.
These findings highlight the benefits for the health of the baby and the mother when a physically-active lifestyle is maintained throughout pregnancy.
160 healthy women between the ages of 25 and 35 took part in the study, all of whom had sedentary habits and no risk of premature birth.
Of this group of women, half followed an exercise regime under the supervision of experts in Physical Activity and Sports Science in collaboration with the Gynaecology and Obstetrics Unit of Hospital Severo Ochoa in Madrid.
The researchers used multiple variables to assess the health of the foetus in women, and they analysed the effect of the training programme carried out during the second and third trimester of pregnancy on the weight and size of the foetus.
"Body size and gestational age, as well as other health parameters, were similar in the group of women who followed the exercise regime compared to those who did no form of physical activity during pregnancy, which indicates that exercise poses no threat to the health of the foetus", Ruiz said.
The study appears in the International Journal of Obesity.