Pregnancy workouts put to the test

A study is investigating whether weightlifting and Pilates could prevent pre-eclampsia.

Could Pilates and weightlifting prevent pre-eclampsia?

The Australian Catholic University is launching a study looking into vigorous exercise in pregnancy.

The study is investigating how resistance training and other activities impact vascular function during each trimester.

Its findings could expose as a myth the notion that breaking into a sweat poses a risk to expectant mums and babies in the later stages of pregnancy.

“Fitspo mums pushing their bodies right up to delivery can create quite a stir but our own published research has shown appropriate vigorous physical activity is perfectly safe for mum and bub,” PhD candidate Courtney Giles said.

“We aim to take that a step further to look at the effects of exercise on both healthy and clinical populations. Women experience massive physical changes during pregnancy and we’re looking to see if a workout may be beneficial in preventing the onset of pre-eclampsia.”

In the study, participants will have their blood pressure, arterial stiffness and foetal heartrate recorded to test the hypothesis that high intensity exercise could be as beneficial in pregnancy as it is in other populations.

“There are numerous benefits to continuing exercise in pregnancy but we’d like to know more about how much and how intense so we can give the right advice,” Ms Giles said.