Recreational running in pregnancy (SPORT)

From studying 1,300 women, Tommy’s researchers found that running for fun is safe and can be recommended as a way to stay fit during pregnancy.
  • Authors list

    Professor Andrew Shennan, Dr Natasha Hezelgrave, Mr Mark Harmon

There hasn't been any large-scale research into the effects of running in pregnancy for mother and baby, and advice for active women during pregnancy is lacking. We compared levels of activity in a large group of women who had already had at least one baby and were active before pregnancy. We then recorded the stage of pregnancy at which they stopped running, and the outcomes, including when they gave birth and the birth weight of the baby.

This study of almost 1,300 women showed that running, even into the last third of pregnancy (16% of our participants), did not cause babies to be born early and did not have a detrimental effect on the birth weight of the baby. Recreational running is therefore safe in pregnancy and can be recommended as a form of exercise to maintain fitness and optimal weight.

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This study is fully funded by Tommy's and takes place in a Tommy's centre