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This is Part 4 in the series of reviews from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) expert committee on exercise and pregnancy in recreational and elite athletes. Part 1 focused on the effects of training during pregnancy and on the management of common pregnancy-related complaints experienced by athletes;1 Part 2 addressed maternal and foetal perinatal outcomes;2 Part 3 reviewed the implications of pregnancy and childbirth on return to exercise and on common illnesses and complaints in the postpartum period.3 Parts 1–3 are all open access papers.
In Part 4, we recommend future research based on Parts 1–3. The systematic reviews, on which the previous Parts were based, revealed many gaps in knowledge relating to strenuous exercise during pregnancy and in the postpartum period, in both regular recreational exercisers and elite athletes. Important research questions are listed below, in relation to the foci of Parts 1–3, under the following headings: exercise during pregnancy, exercise related to birth outcomes and exercise in the postpartum period. References to existing research in the respective areas are listed in the previously Parts 1–3 and are not repeated here.
Research questions related to exercise during pregnancy
(based on the review of the effects of training during pregnancy and on the management of common pregnancy-related complaints experienced by recreational and elite athletes1).
Are athletes of reproductive age concerned about that their fertility may be limited?
Does duration and frequency of strenuous exercise impact fertility?
Do factors that affect fertility differ in elite athletes and the general population (including recreational athletes, active and sedentary women)?
Does the prevalence of, and risk factors for, the following …
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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