Vol 92, No 2 (2021)
Research paper
Published online: 2020-10-16

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The effects of a physical exercise program on fetal well-being and intrauterine safety

Beata Makaruk1, Rafal Iciek2, Andrzej Zalewski3, Anna Galczak-Kondraciuk4, Weronika Grantham1
Pubmed: 33448007
Ginekol Pol 2021;92(2):126-131.


Objectives: The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of a supervised physical exercise program on fetal well-being
and intrauterine safety. Physical activity is recommended for healthy pregnant women. However, constant evaluation of
fetal condition and development is recommended to ensure the safety of the exercise program.
Material and methods: Randomized control trial study design. Sixty-six healthy pregnant women (age 24–35) with singleton
gestation were randomly assigned to either an exercise group (EG, n = 34) or a non-active control group (CG, n = 32). The
exercise program included 81 sessions (moderate intensity, 3 times per week, 50–60 min/session from weeks 13 to weeks
40/41 of pregnancy). Fetal well-being was assessed in weeks 32 and 37 of pregnancy. The cerebroplacental ratio (CPR) was
calculated to evaluate the safety of the exercise program for the fetus.
Results: The differences in the CPR ratio measurements between EG and CG groups in week 37 (p < 0.05) were observed.
The increase in the CPR ratio was also shown in week 37 of pregnancy in comparison to week 32 (p < 0.01). Moreover,
maternal heart rate was significantly lower in the exercise group as measured at 37 weeks (p < 0.05).
Conclusions: The results of this study confirm that regular and supervised exercise program throughout pregnancy does
not affect fetal well-being and is safe for the fetus. Additionally, regular physical activity improves maternal physical fitness
and cardiac efficiency which might aid at preparing pregnant women for natural labor.

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