Ten carefully screened primiparous patients between 36 and 38 weeks' gestation underwent pulmonary artery catheterization, arterial line placement, and central hemodynamic assessment in the left lateral recumbent position. Studies were repeated in the same patients between 11 and 13 weeks post partum. Compared with the nonpregnant state, there was a significant fall in systemic vascular resistance, pulmonary vascular resistance, colloid oncotic pressure, and colloid oncotic pressure-pulmonary capillary wedge pressure gradient by the late phase of the third trimester (p less than 0.05). Pregnancy was associated with a significant rise in cardiac output and pulse in all patients (p less than 0.05). There was no significant change in pulmonary capillary wedge pressure, central venous pressure, left ventricular stroke work index, or mean arterial pressure. Normally the late phase of the third trimester is not associated with hyperdynamic left ventricular function as assessed by the left ventricular stroke work index/pulmonary capillary wedge pressure ratio.