09/07/2013 07:49 BST | Updated 09/07/2013 07:52 BST

Zara Phillips: Is It Advisable For Her To Be Horse Riding While Pregnant?

Despite being just over three months pregnant with her first child, Zara Phillips has said that will continue to compete in horse riding over the next month.

This news comes despite the fact on Saturday she took part in the Barbury International Horse Trials near Swindon, where she came off her horse. She was said to be "fine". Her spokesman said in The Daily Telegraph that she will carry on competing, and she is currently entered into three events later this month, with rides on six different horses.

As with other royal babies, the media and the public will have an opinion on this. The fact is that despite Zara being an Olympic athlete in the sport, with horse riding, there is a risk of back, spinal, muscular pain, arm and neck injuries.

zara phillips

It's a high impact sport, and Bupa's website clearly states that alongside cycling or ice-skating, horse riding should be avoided after the first three months.

"Similarly, if you usually take part in contact sports, such as kickboxing, judo or football, you will need to put these on hold until after your pregnancy because there is a risk of being hit in the abdomen (tummy)."

The NHS also advises against the sport because of the risk of falling.

The National Institute For Health And Care Excellence (NICE) guideline on antenatal care states that “pregnant women should be informed of the potential dangers of certain activities during pregnancy, for example, contact sports, high-impact sports and vigorous racquet sports that may involve the risk of abdominal trauma, falls or excessive joint stress, and scuba diving, which may result in fetal birth defects and fetal decompression disease."

pregnant aqua aerobics

Aqua aerobics is recommended by Bupa

Zara's spokesperson added: "As you can imagine she is following all medical advice from her doctors. She is being sensible about this and is listening to what the doctors are telling her. She couldn’t be happier about the baby and would never put her pregnancy in jeopardy."

Ultimately, continuing to ride is a personal choice, but if Zara does want to continue to exercise, the NHS advises pelvic floor exercises. Stomach strengthening exercises are also recommended as these help support the back. Bupa says the jury is still out on yoga and tai chi, but that swimming an aqua aerobics is fine.