Fetal and maternal cardiac responses to physical activity and exercise during pregnancy

Linda E. May, John J.B. Allen, Kathleen M. Gustafson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Since the 1970s, researchers have studied the influence of exercise during pregnancy on offspring heart development. With the knowledge and current evidence of fetal programming effects, research has demonstrated that exercise is safe and beneficial for mother, fetus, and neonate. Predominantly, research has focused on maternal and fetal cardiac adaptations related to aerobic exercise during pregnancy; less is known regarding the effects of resistance or combination (aerobic and resistance) training during pregnancy. Ongoing research is focusing on fetal responses to different intensity, duration and modes of maternal exercise throughout pregnancy. This article will summarize our current state of knowledge regarding the influence of exercise intensity, duration, and modes during pregnancy on maternal and fetal cardiac responses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-52
Number of pages4
JournalEarly Human Development
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016


  • Autonomic nervous system
  • Exercise
  • Fetal heart
  • Maternal health
  • Pregnancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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