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They knew Zara needed to put on a perfect show-jumping performance to take gold from the Germans.She told FT Weekend Magazine that she has spent her afternoons swimming and cycling to become fighting fit again, admitting: 'What surprised me about having a baby is losing all your fitness and how tough it is to get it back.'She also has a host of other awards under her belt including individual and team gold at the European Eventing Championships in 2005 and individual gold and team silver at the World Equestrian Games in 2006.But Zara’s delight was tinged with disappointment, and when husband Mike Tindall rushed to comfort her, she buried her face in his shoulder.While many people think it’s the up-and-down ‘bouncing’ motion that is dangerous, according to NHS guidance it is the risk of falling that expectant mothers have to worry about, putting the activity in the same category as skiing, gymnastics and cycling. My aunt rode racehorses until she was six months pregnant, one time even having a bad tumble when she came off while going over a jump.Perhaps that gave me a fatalistic outlook, but it left me believing that whatever happens is going to happen and you can’t put your life on hold.Beatrice, who attended the cross-country event yesterday and the swimming finals last night, is proving a committed Olympics spectator, despite apparently having recently landed a ‘demanding’ job with a venture capital firm.Riding keeps you supple and fit: vital attributes for a healthy pregnancy and successful birth.It makes you feel in touch with your body and also gives you the mental courage to get through labour: any woman who has ridden fast knows how brave it makes you feel.Pregnancy shouldn’t be treated as a rare illness, with women feeling obliged to wrap themselves in cotton wool.The Princess Royal competed in the 1976 Games in Montreal, and Captain Mark Phillips won a team gold in Munich in 1972 and a silver in 1988.In my most recent pregnancy, I again rode until I was five months pregnant, stopping because I had to sell my horse, not because I worried about the physical consequences.William and Kate were seen clapping their hands to their mouths in horror when the pole dropped to the floor, costing the team the crucial points.It can leave mums-to-be anxious and overwhelmed, which is surely far more damaging than carrying on with activities you love.I had textbook pregnancies for all three and fantastic, fast, beautiful labours, the last of which was just an hour from start to finish.

And in a tribute to the home crowd who sat in the rain to cheer her on, she added: ‘It’s incredible, it gives you a massive lift as you come into the arena.