Maternal blood pressure and heart rate response to pelvic floor muscle training during pregnancy

Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2014 Jul;93(7):678-83. doi: 10.1111/aogs.12388. Epub 2014 Apr 30.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Blood Pressure / physiology*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Heart Rate / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Pelvic Floor / physiology*
  • Pregnancy / physiology*