Danish researchers have advised women not to take any strenuous exercise in the early stages of pregnancy because it may triple the risk of miscarriage. Researchers at the University of Southern Denmark quizzed more than 90,000 women on their exercise regime, and linked their answers to the outcome of their pregnancies.
After collecting the data about the participants, the researchers compared women who did not take any exercise at all with those who exercised more than seven hours a week or played “high-impact” sports, such as ball games and racket sports.
It was found that women who played "high-impact" sports or who exercised for more than seven hours a week were approximately three-and-a-half times more likely to miscarry.
The researchers also found that miscarriage was far rarer later in pregnancy, and that the association between exercise and miscarriage disappeared after the 18-week mark.
"The results of this study suggest that leisure time exercise during pregnancy, and particularly high-impact exercise, is associated with an increased risk of miscarriage in the early stage of pregnancy," the BBC quoted the authors of the study as writing in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
However, the study has also shown that swimming, which is one of the most popular exercises among pregnant women, does not increase the risk of miscarriage.
She, however, said that she would not normally recommend any sport which involved the risk of an impact to the abdomen of a pregnant woman.