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Respir Physiol Neurobiol. 2009 Jul 31;167(3):341-7. doi: 10.1016/j.resp.2009.06.009. Epub 2009 Jun 17.

Impact of pregnancy and obesity on cardiorespiratory responses during weight-bearing exercise.

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  • 1Exercise and Pregnancy Laboratory, School of Kinesiology, Faculty of Health Sciences, The University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada.


The present study is the first to compare the cardiorespiratory responses during progressive weight-bearing treadmill exercise in normal-weight non-pregnant (NP, n=14), normal-weight pregnant (PG, n=20) and obese pregnant (PGOB, n=20) women. Exercise duration and peak treadmill speed were lower in PG (23.9+/-4.9 min; 1.6+/-0.2m/s; P<0.001) compared to NP (33.7+/-4.9 min; 2.0+/-0.2m/s) and were further reduced in PGOB (19.6+/-2.8 min; 1.4+/-0.1m/s; P<0.001) indicating a performance limitation to exercise. Ventilation in response to exercise was increased in PG (49.4+/-6.6L/min) compared to NP (39.8+/-5.4 L/min, at 100W; p<0.05) women, and was further augmented by obesity (56.7+/-9.3 L/min, at 100W; p<0.05 versus PG) secondary to an elevated metabolic cost of exercise as indicated by no further increase in .V(E)/.V(CO2) and .V(E)/.V(O2) in PGOB compared to PG women. The normal augmentation of heart rate observed in PG during exercise was not further increased by obesity at standardized sub-maximal work rates.

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