Historically, pregnant women were discouraged from exercising out of concerns that it could be harmful. While there are now various exercise guidelines and recommendations for pregnancy, the effect of prenatal exercise on cardiorespiratory fitness has not been systematically examined. To address this, Canadian researchers from the University of Alberta in Edmonton conducted a meta-analysis of studies.

According to the findings, available in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise (2020; 52 [7], 1538–48), prenatal exercise can be a beneficial and effective way to increase maternal cardiorespiratory fitness, even for women who were inactive before becoming pregnant. With higher aerobic fitness levels come improvements in blood pressure measurements, aerobic capacity and resting heart rate, all of which contribute to better prenatal health.

This research focused on moderate-intensity exercise. More information is needed on the effects of vigorous-intensity exercise, since research in this area is significantly lacking.

See also: Active Pregnant Moms Boost Babies’ Fitness