Evidence on exercise in pregnancy
In 2010, marathon world-record holder Paula Radcliffe finished a 10 km charity run while 7 months pregnant. In 2011, Amber Miller completed the Chicago Marathon in 6 hours 25 minutes, and 7 hours later gave birth to a baby girl. Successful birth plans are not dependent on such feats of athleticism, but the exploits of Radcliffe and Miller raise the question: ‘Is it necessary—or safe—to exercise during pregnancy?’ As Blaize et al (2015: 198) suggest, women may not only fail to ‘reach the recommendations for exercising during pregnancy because of feelings of discomfort, fatigue, illness, and lack of enjoyment’, they may also consider it more important to relax during pregnancy than to exercise. Indeed, Barakat et al (2015: 2) suggest that past recommendations for exercise during pregnancy were ‘based more on social and cultural notions or “common sense” than any hard scientific evidence’.
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