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J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med. 2003 Sep;14(3):163-9.

Effectiveness and safety of a structured swimming program in previously sedentary women during pregnancy.

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  • 1School of Human Movement and Exercise Science, University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia.



To determine whether undertaking a swimming program in sedentary women during pregnancy would improve maternal fitness without adverse fetal consequences.


Prospective observational investigation of healthy sedentary pregnant women participating in a monitored swimming program.


Twenty-three women attended swimming sessions from 16 to 28 weeks of gestation resulting in increasing distances swum and improved aerobic fitness as measured by physical work capacity (PWC170) (p = 0.003). Resting maternal heart rate decreased (p = 0.041) and resting systolic (p = 0.092) and diastolic (p = 0.971) blood pressures remained unchanged over gestation. The mean fetal heart rates decreased with advancing gestational age (p = 0.001), consistent with normal physiology. Non-stress tests and umbilical artery systolic/diastolic ratios were similar before and after swimming sessions, providing evidence that fetal well-being was unchanged.


A structured swimming program in sedentary pregnant women increases maternal fitness without any alteration in maternal and fetal well-being.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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