The purpose of this randomised controlled trial was to examine the effect of regular exercise (3 times/week) performed during the second and third trimester of pregnancy on the risk of prepartum maternal anaemia (MA) (haemoglobin <11g/dL). We randomly assigned 160 sedentary healthy women to either a training or a control group (n=80 each). We recorded haematological variables at baseline (1st trimester), beginning of 2nd and 3rd trimester. Frequency of participants with MA was similar in the two groups over gestation (and consistently < 10%). The course of haematological adaptations was normal and similar in both groups reflecting a steady fall in haemoglobin concentration over the 2nd trimester due to haemodilution and a rise later in gestation due to haemoconcentration. In summary, regular exercise during the second half of pregnancy does not increase the risk of MA nor does it alter haematological variables.
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