The elite athlete and exercise in pregnancy

Semin Perinatol. 1996 Aug;20(4):277-84. doi: 10.1016/s0146-0005(96)80020-6.


As the opportunities for women to compete in elite sports competition increase, it is inevitable that pregnancy will occur during training and competition. The effect of the high-intensity exercise needed to compete at the elite level will be found in anatomic changes such as ligament relaxation, change in posture, and increased weight. These will all detract from the ability to attain peak performance. The effect of the high-intensity training on the athlete and the fetus must also be considered. The physiological and metabolic changes will have a variable effect; however, awarenees of these changes should prevent problems. There is some evidence suggesting an increase in low birthweight infants but no evidence of preterm birth. Unfortunately, much of our information is based on limited studies, so caution and careful evaluation are essential.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Birth Weight
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Fetus / physiology*
  • Heart Rate, Fetal
  • Humans
  • Lactation
  • Pregnancy / physiology*
  • Sports*