Fetal and maternal hemodynamic responses to exercise in pregnancy assessed by Doppler ultrasonography

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1989 Jan;160(1):138-40. doi: 10.1016/0002-9378(89)90106-3.


It is common for women to undertake vigorous exercise in the late phase of pregnancy. This may have detrimental effects on the blood flow to the uterus and placenta or from the fetus to the placenta. Fifteen pregnant women with no obstetric or medical complications were subjected to a 5-minute exercise period. The maternal heart rate and blood pressure were elevated after exercise. The uteroplacental and umbilical circulations were assessed with Doppler ultrasonography. The ratio of the systolic/diastolic velocity in the uterine artery was elevated, which suggests that uteroplacental vascular resistance increased. The fetal heart rate was elevated after exercise, whereas the systolic/diastolic velocity ratio in the umbilical artery was unaltered. We conclude that moderate maternal exercise causes increased resistance to blood flow in the uterine circulation, whereas the umbilical circulation remains unaltered.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Blood Flow Velocity
  • Blood Pressure
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Fetus / physiology*
  • Heart Rate
  • Heart Rate, Fetal
  • Hemodynamics*
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy / physiology*
  • Ultrasonography
  • Umbilical Arteries
  • Uterus / blood supply*
  • Uterus / physiology
  • Vascular Resistance