The important point: Not only did these women compete while pregnant, some even won gold medals in the process.
“Absolutely exercise while pregnant!”
This is the advice given by many doctors, including Dr. Vincenzo Berghella, a professor of maternal-fetal medicine at Sidney Kimmel Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia.
Yet some mothers-to-be worry they might choose the wrong activity and harm their babies.
The sports or activities not recommended for pregnant women are “basically those where you can fall,” said Berghella in an email. Yet, he also acknowledged that at the end of pregnancy, the exercises that may be comfortable early on may become “less easy to do.”
How much is too much?
Another common concern for pregnant women: How much exercise is too much?
But the lives of elite athletes suggest there may be no upper limit on how much exercise is feasible during pregnancy — at least for women who are well-conditioned.
The effect of strenuous exercise during pregnancy “appears to be safe” for elite athletes, Berghella noted. Still, it has not yet been evaluated sufficiently and more evidence is needed for doctors to confidently make the recommendation, he said.