Should you ride while pregnant?

  • Following the news of Zara Phillips’ pregnancy, the question of whether riders should continue to ride and compete while pregnant is going to be up for public debate once again.

    H&H news editor Flora Watkins asks the experts what they recommend in a special news feature in next week’s Horse & Hound magazine (18 July). But most professional female riders believe their body will tell them when it’s time to stop.

    Peter Bowen-Simpkins, spokesman for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists previously told H&H: “The major danger caused by riding occurs after 28 weeks. The risks aren’t associated with the process of riding as such, but with falling off and landing on your tummy.”

    He believes the likelihood of taking a tumble increases with pregnancy, but adds: “Also, during the first 12 weeks there is a relationship between trauma and miscarriage.”

    Famous competing mothers

    • Double individual Olympic gold medalist Anky van Grunsven (pictured) was pregnant with her first child Yannick when she won gold at the Athens Olympics in 2004.
    • Mary King won gold at the 1995 Europeans when 5.5 months pregnant
    • Molly Ashe-Cawley was part of the American team that won the Hickstead show jumping Nations Cup in July while four months pregnant
    • Dressage rider Steph Crowford rode up to two days before she gave birth to her daughter Annabelle
    • Champion team chaser Yvonne Goss tore across country while pregnant without any problems

    Don’t miss H&H’s news feature on the pros and cons of riding when pregnant in Horse & Hound (18 July 2013)

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