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Effect of exercise on maternal hemodynamics and placental blood flow in healthy women.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Helsinki University Central Hospital, Finland.


Intervillous placental blood flow responses to standardized exercise during late pregnancy were studied using a Xenon technique in 25 healthy women. Thirteen of them were studied twice between the 32nd and 38th weeks of pregnancy, with mean 32 (range 22 to 40) days between the studies. At the end of a 6-min exercise, mean maternal heart rate had risen from 77 +/- 10 (SD) to 154 +/- 11 beats/min, amounting to 63% of maximal oxygen uptake. Stroke volume rose by 9%, cardiac output by 65% and cardiac index by 71% as a consequence of exercise, but peripheral vascular resistance declined by 41%. The placental blood flow was at a similar level after the exercise as before the exercise, being 95 +/- 19 (mean +/- SD) ml/min/100 ml of intervillous space before, 98 +/- 24 one min after, and 93 +/- 16 30 min after the cessation of exercise. No change was found in the level of placental blood flow between the 32-34th and 37-38th weeks of pregnancy. The placental blood flow had a positive correlation with maternal weight, mean arterial blood pressure and with diastolic blood pressure. Maternal heart rate, cardiac output, cardiac index, placental weight and the birth weight of the infant was not correlated with placental blood flow. It is concluded that in normal pregnancy a short submaximal exercise has little effect on placental blood flow measured after exercise.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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