Pregnant Athletes Can Keep Moving

Maria Sharapovas not pregnant but if she were it would be okay

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) There's no cause for alarm or plans to buy diapers after Maria Sharapova's stomach ache during the gold medal match at the Olympic games. The pain during her loss against Serena Williams in the London finals was just from a stomach virus, not a stork visit.

The No. 3 seed at the US Open had blood work and an ultrasound performed upon returning to the US, according to USA Today.

"[I had an ultrasound] because of the pain I was having," Sharapova said after defeating Melinda Czink in the first round of the U.S. Open Monday.

"It was really weird. They told me I was fine, not pregnant."

If the Russian tennis player were pregnant, she'd still be able to play. Mothers can keep exercising up until birth as long as it's done in moderation.

"Talk to your doctor about an exercise plan while pregnant."

Exercise during pregnancy can ease back pain, boost energy and stamina, and prevent excess weight gain, thus reducing risk of diabetes, pregnancy-related high blood pressure, and depression.

Activity should stop if it includes any bouncing, jarring, or leaping movements that would risk abdominal injury.

"Activities such as scuba diving and hiking at high altitudes are generally discouraged, as are contact sports and activities that pose a high risk of falling — such as water skiing, downhill skiing and in-line skating," according to Mayo Clinic staff.

A study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology found several benefits while in labor for women who continue to run and do aerobics during the later half of pregnancy.

Only 6 percent of pregnant women had abdominal and vaginal operative delivery when they kept up a regular exercise routine versus 20 percent and 30 percent respectively among non-exercisers.

Plus, active labor was at least 118 minutes shorter.

If mothers experience dizziness, headaches, shortness of breath, chest or abdominal pain, or vaginal bleeding, activity definitely needs to stop and contact the doctor.

Several athletes have continued their sport while pregnant, including LPGA player Catriona Matthew, professional soccer player and two-time Olympic gold medalist Kristine Lilly, and WNBA star Candace Parker, according to ESPN.com.

For now though, babies aren't in the cards for Sharapova, who is engaged to basketball player Sasha Vujacic.

After the virus, the tennis player withdrew from events and took a few weeks off, according to the Washington Post.

“It was a nice break in a way, but after so many weeks of practicing, you’re just eager to get back on the court,” she said. 

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
August 27, 2012
Last Updated:
August 28, 2012