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Early Hum Dev. 2016 Mar;94:49-52. doi: 10.1016/j.earlhumdev.2016.01.005. Epub 2016 Jan 21.

Fetal and maternal cardiac responses to physical activity and exercise during pregnancy.

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Foundational Sciences and Research, East Carolina University, 1851 MacGregor Downs Rd, Greenville, NC 27834, USA. Electronic address:
Department of Psychology, University of Arizona, P.O. Box 210068, Tucson, AZ 85721-0068, USA. Electronic address:
Hoglund Brain Imaging Center, University of Kansas Medical Center, 3901 Rainbow Blvd., Kansas City, KS, USA. Electronic address:


Since the 1970s, researchers have studied the influence of exercise during pregnancy on offspring heart development. With the knowledge and current evidence of fetal programming effects, research has demonstrated that exercise is safe and beneficial for mother, fetus, and neonate. Predominantly, research has focused on maternal and fetal cardiac adaptations related to aerobic exercise during pregnancy; less is known regarding the effects of resistance or combination (aerobic and resistance) training during pregnancy. Ongoing research is focusing on fetal responses to different intensity, duration and modes of maternal exercise throughout pregnancy. This article will summarize our current state of knowledge regarding the influence of exercise intensity, duration, and modes during pregnancy on maternal and fetal cardiac responses.


Autonomic nervous system; Exercise; Fetal heart; Maternal health; Pregnancy

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