Exercise-related changes in umbilical and uterine artery waveforms as assessed by Doppler ultrasound scans

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2002 Sep;187(3):661-6. doi: 10.1067/mob.2002.125741.


Objective: The purpose of this study was to assess the effect of strenuous symptom-limited exercise on umbilical and uterine blood flow.

Study design: Twenty-two primiparous women between 30 and 34 weeks of gestation were recruited. At rest, umbilical and uterine artery waveforms were assessed by measuring the pulsatility index. This was followed by a symptom-limited incremental exercise test. Fetal umbilical and maternal uterine artery circulations were assessed after exercise.

Results: Strenuous maternal exercise was demonstrated by the significant change in physiologic parameters, which was associated with an immediate increase in fetal heart rate, a significant increase in the right uterine artery pulsatility index, and a reduction in the umbilical artery pulsatility index.

Conclusion: The modest change in the uterine artery pulsatility index without an adverse change in the umbilical artery pulsatility index indicates that a single bout of maximum symptom-limited exercise does not have immediate adverse fetal or maternal cardiovascular effects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Heart Rate, Fetal
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Regional Blood Flow
  • Ultrasonography, Doppler, Color
  • Umbilical Arteries / physiology*
  • Uterus / blood supply*
  • Vascular Resistance