Objectives: To assess whether maternal blood pressure (BP) and heart rate (HR) change significantly in response to pelvic floor muscle training during pregnancy.
Design: Longitudinal exploratory study with repeated measurements.
Sample: Twenty-seven nulliparous healthy women of mean age 23.3 years (range 18-36) and mean body mass index 23.4 (range 23.1-29.5).
Methods: Individual supervised pelvic floor muscle training from gestational week 20 till 36 with assessment of BP and HR at gestational weeks 20, 24, 28, 32 and 36.
Main outcome measures: Systolic and diastolic BP was measured before and after each training session and HR was monitored during each session.
Results: Pelvic floor muscle training did not change BP. 77% (n = 21) of participants exceeded 70% of estimated maximum HR during at least one session. The time for exceeding 70% of estimated maximum HR was between 2.2 and 3.2 % of the total exercise session. Increases in BP and HR from gestational weeks 20 till 36 were within normal limits for pregnant women.
Conclusions: Pelvic floor muscle training in nulliparous sedentary pregnant women does not increase BP. It significantly increases HR during the exercise sessions, but only for a limited period of time and with no negative long-term effect on BP or HR.
Keywords: Blood pressure; exercise; heart rate; pelvic floor muscle; training.
© 2014 Nordic Federation of Societies of Obstetrics and Gynecology.