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Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2012 Sep;207(3):179.e1-6. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2012.07.021. Epub 2012 Jul 20.

Strenuous exercise during pregnancy: is there a limit?

Author information

1
Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The purpose of this study was to evaluate fetal responses to strenuous exercise in physically active and inactive women.

STUDY DESIGN:

Forty-five healthy women (15 who were nonexercisers, 15 who were regularly active, 15 who were highly active) underwent a peak treadmill test at 28 weeks' gestation to 32 weeks 6 days' gestation. Fetal well-being (umbilical artery Doppler indices, fetal heart tracing/rate, biophysical profile [BPP]) was evaluated before and after exercise. Uterine artery Doppler scans were also obtained.

RESULTS:

Umbilical and uterine artery Doppler indices were similar among activity groups and did not change with exercise (P > .05). BPP and fetal heart tracings were reassuring in all groups. However, subgroup analyses showed transient fetal heart rate decelerations after exercise and elevated umbilical and uterine artery Doppler indices in 5 highly active women. After this, BPP and fetal heart tracings were reassuring.

CONCLUSION:

Overall fetal well-being is reassuring after short-duration, strenuous exercise in both active and inactive pregnant women. A subset of highly active women experienced transient fetal heart rate decelerations and Doppler changes immediately after exercise. Athletes may push beyond a threshold intensity at which fetal well-being may be compromised. However, potential impact on neonatal outcomes is unknown.

PMID:
22939718
PMCID:
PMC3464969
DOI:
10.1016/j.ajog.2012.07.021
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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