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Pregnant women can train hard, but it doesn't mean they must

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I had just started training for my first marathon, earlier this year, when I discovered I was pregnant. It was a genius excuse to get out of an endurance event I was feeling a bit unprepared for. But, although I decided not to push myself, it was not because pregnant women can’t push.

Researchers recently compared being a pregnant woman to being an endurance athlete, finding pregnancy is as metabolically taxing to the body. Yet, some heavily pregnant women capably do both.

Many pregnant women are capable of pushing hard, but it doesn't mean they should. Credit:Getty

Olympian Alysia Montano competed in the 800 metres at the 2014 US Track and Field Championships while pregnant, drawing audible gasps from the public.

Montano told the New York Times this year that she had wanted to turn stereotypes about pregnancy upside down and wanted people to recognise that fitness in pregnancy is “actually a really good thing”. Indeed it is.

Attitudes to exercising while pregnant have, thankfully, changed from the antiquated 1940s prescription of rest. By the '80s, we fragile flowers were allowed to take a daily walk but still warned from dancing, running or any strenuous exercise lasting longer than 15 minutes. Today, 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise each week is considered beneficial to both mother and baby and those women who have been exercising intensely pre-pregnancy........

© The Age