Effectiveness and safety of a structured swimming program in previously sedentary women during pregnancy Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVE: To determine whether undertaking a swimming program in sedentary women during pregnancy would improve maternal fitness without adverse fetal consequences. METHODS: Prospective observational investigation of healthy sedentary pregnant women participating in a monitored swimming program. RESULTS: 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. CONCLUSIONS: A structured swimming program in sedentary pregnant women increases maternal fitness without any alteration in maternal and fetal well-being.


  • Lynch, A-M
  • McDonald, S
  • Magann, EF
  • Evans, SF
  • Choy, PL
  • Dawson, B
  • Blanksby, BA
  • Newnham, JP

publication date

  • January 2003