Am J Perinatol 1993; 10(2): 178-182
DOI: 10.1055/s-2007-994656

© 1993 by Thieme Medical Publishers, Inc.

Thermoregulation of Pregnant Women During Aerobic Exercise on Land and in the Water

Robert G. McMurray, Vern L. Katz, Wendy E. Meyer-Goodwin, Robert C. Cefalo
  • Applied Physiology Laboratory & Division of Maternal and Fetal Medicine, Department of Obstetrics, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
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Publication Date:
04 March 2008 (online)


Seven women in their 25th week of pregnancy exercised for 20 minutes on a cycle ergometerat 70% of their maximal heart rate on land and in the water (30°C) to compare thermoregulatory responses. Rectal temperatures increased 0.5 ± 0.1°C during the land trial and only 0.2 ± 0.1°C during the water trial (p <0.05). Mean body temperature rose 0.6 ± 0.2°C during the land trial, but declined -0.3 ± 0.1°C during the water trials (p <0.05). Land exercise caused greater heat storage and sweat loss. The results suggest that normal pregnant women can maintain thermal balance during 20 minutes of exercise at 70% maximal heart rate, whether on land or in the water. Thus, for normal, average fit, pregnant women who wish to participate in a moderate exercise program, heat stress is probably not a major concern.