Heart rate and stroke volume were measured serially in subjects at rest in the sitting position and at the onset and end of a 6-minute period of upright bicycle exercise. Twenty-three subjects with normal pregnancy were studied in late gestation and again post partum. Rest and exercise cardiac outputs in late gestation were not different from those in the postpartum period. Heart rate was higher at rest and stroke volume lower during exercise in late gestation than post partum. At the end of exercise, stroke volume fell dramatically in late gestation but not post partum. Ten women prospectively identified as physically fit had responses that were not different from those of the nonfit cohort in late gestation. Post partum, the physically fit women had exercise responses typical of trained persons and different from those of the nonfit cohort. In late gestation, rest and exercise hemodynamics in subjects in the sitting position appeared to be dominated by factors influencing venous return, independent of physical fitness.