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Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2000 Jan;32(1):58-62.

Physical and psychological changes with vigorous exercise in sedentary primigravidae.

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University of Miami, Exercise and Sport Sciences, and Department of Anthropology, Coral Gables, FL 33124, USA.



The present study examined the effects of exercise on physical and psychological variables in sedentary primigravidae (PRA).


A total of nine women randomly assigned to an exercise (E) (mean age = 31.3 +/- 3.1 yr) and six subjects randomly assigned to a control (C) group (mean age = 27.8 +/- 3.1 yr) fulfilled all requirements for the study. Exercise included a variety of exercise activities performed to a target heart rate of 150-156 beats x min(-1), three times per week for 15 wk.


Results showed no significant differences between E and C groups in physical characteristics initially. A repeated measures ANOVA showed a significant group effect (P < 0.05) and a significant group by time interaction (P = 0.001) with the E group showing a significantly longer amount of time on the PWC150 test than the C group. There was no significant group, time, or group by time interaction for lactate accumulation. This occurred, despite the fact that the E group spent 56% longer on the PWC150 test and the C group spent 30% less time on the same test at the conclusion of the study. Finally, the E group in comparison to the C group showed more favorable improvements in several items related to health and well-being on the Body Cathexis Scale. There were no significant differences between E and C groups in any pregnancy outcome measures. All babies were delivered healthy at term.


These data suggest that a vigorous exercise program can lead to significant improvements in aerobic fitness at similar lactate concentrations compared to a control group and can be well tolerated by low risk sedentary PRA without any deleterious effects occurring to herself or unborn child.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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