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Pregnancy and Sports Medicine

A pregnant woman does a side stretch.

Today, more women are remaining not only active but athletic during their pregnancies. While guidelines on exercise during pregnancy are available, most do not address high-level athletes — leaving many questions unanswered for these women.

The Women’s Sports Medicine Program promotes the advancement of knowledge surrounding pregnancy and sports medicine through research and education. Dr. Linda Szymanski, a former athlete herself, is a high-risk obstetrician and exercise physiologist who studies exercise during pregnancy and is interested in developing evidence-based guidelines for athletes who plan to continue to exercise during pregnancy.

Dr. Szymanski’s research, focused on fetal responses to exercise, has shown that when women (exercisers and non-exercisers) perform either moderate or vigorous exercise according to available guidelines, the exercise is well tolerated by both the mother and the fetus. However, her research (and the research of others) on athletes who engage in highly strenuous exercise, suggests the possibility of a threshold intensity level in some women at which the baby does not respond as well. This implies that an individualized assessment and prescription may be of value in these higher-level athletes.

Our experts, including obstetricians, sports medicine specialists and physical therapists, provide comprehensive care for women who wish to remain active during pregnancies. Through a collaborative approach, we provide activity-specific treatment plans while maintaining awareness of the restrictions and modifications that are required during this phase of life.

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