OBJECTIVE--To assess maternal rectal temperature and fetal heart rate responses to dynamic exercise. METHODS--11 healthy women with low risk pregnancies completed three separate upright cycling tests at 34 to 37 weeks gestation: 15 min at 62.5 W (mean maternal heart rate [MHR] 138 beats.min-1 (test A); 15 min at 87.5 W (MHR 156 beats.min-1) (test B); and 30 min at 62.5 W (MHR 142 beats.min-1) (test C). Rectal temperature and fetal heart rate were measured. RESULTS--Mean temperature increase after tests B and C [by 0.4(SD 0.1) degrees C] was greater than after test A [0.2(0.1) degrees C] (P < 0.001). Fetal heart rate, measured in the recovery period immediately after exercise, increased significantly only after tests B and C (P < 0.01). Exercise related changes in temperature and fetal heart rate weakly correlated in tests B (P < 0.02) and C (P < 0.01). CONCLUSIONS--Temperature and fetal heart rate changes were more marked after higher intensity (test B) or longer duration exercise (test C) compared with moderate exercise, but none of the tests caused adverse fetal heart rate changes (decrease in accelerations, bradycardia, or decelerations) or individual temperatures above 38 degrees C.
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