Exercise/Heat stress during pregnancy

Actualizado: 23 mar

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Thermal stress corresponds to a situation in which the human body raises its temperature (either exogenously or endogenously) causing bodily damage in various ways (vascular, cellular, etc.). This is very important in pregnant women since it is widely accepted that it produces embryological changes in fetal development. How is it related to pregnancy?

Pregnant women can exercise and are often advised about it. The problem is that exercise raises body temperature, so the variation in temperature is not known with certainty. This also applies to bathtubs, whose exogenous heat source can also raise the temperature.

How much exercise can you do?

The important thing is not to raise the body temperature above 39 degrees. A study that compiles information from 12 other scientific works, identifies it as safe to exercise at 90% of the maximum heart rate for up to 35 minutes. In the case of tub baths, a maximum of 20 minutes at 40º

In conclusion, it is better to perform mild to moderate exercise and avoid tub baths (always ask your treating doctor)

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Ravanelli N, Casasola W, English T, et al Heat stress and fetal risk. Environmental limits for exercise and passive heat stress during pregnancy: a systematic review with best evidence synthesis British Journal of Sports Medicine 2019;53:799-805.

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