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Canadian Journal of Cardiology

Maternal Physical Activity Is Associated With Improved Blood Pressure Regulation During Late Pregnancy

  • Frances M. Sobierajski
    Affiliations
    Program for Pregnancy and Postpartum Health, Neurovascular Health Lab, Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

    Women and Children's Health Research Institute, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

    Alberta Diabetes Institute, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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  • Graeme M. Purdy
    Affiliations
    Program for Pregnancy and Postpartum Health, Neurovascular Health Lab, Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

    Women and Children's Health Research Institute, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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  • Charlotte W. Usselman
    Affiliations
    Program for Pregnancy and Postpartum Health, Neurovascular Health Lab, Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

    Women and Children's Health Research Institute, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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  • Rachel J. Skow
    Affiliations
    Program for Pregnancy and Postpartum Health, Neurovascular Health Lab, Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

    Women and Children's Health Research Institute, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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  • Marina A. James
    Affiliations
    Program for Pregnancy and Postpartum Health, Neurovascular Health Lab, Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

    Women and Children's Health Research Institute, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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  • Radha S. Chari
    Affiliations
    Women and Children's Health Research Institute, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

    Alberta Diabetes Institute, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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  • Rshmi Khurana
    Affiliations
    Women and Children's Health Research Institute, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

    Faculty of Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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  • Michael K. Stickland
    Affiliations
    Faculty of Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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  • Sandra T. Davidge
    Affiliations
    Women and Children's Health Research Institute, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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  • Maureen Devolin
    Affiliations
    Healthy Children and Families; Healthy Living; Population, Public and Aboriginal Health, Alberta Health Services, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
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  • Craig D. Steinback
    Affiliations
    Program for Pregnancy and Postpartum Health, Neurovascular Health Lab, Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

    Women and Children's Health Research Institute, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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  • Margie H. Davenport
    Correspondence
    Corresponding author: Dr Margie H. Davenport, Program for Pregnancy and Postpartum Health, Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation, University of Alberta, 1-059D Li Ka Shing Centre for Health Research Innovation 8602 - 112 St, Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2E1, Canada. Tel.: +1-780-492-0642; fax: +1-780-492-4249.
    Affiliations
    Program for Pregnancy and Postpartum Health, Neurovascular Health Lab, Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

    Women and Children's Health Research Institute, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

    Alberta Diabetes Institute, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    Search for articles by this author
Published:February 03, 2018DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cjca.2018.01.021

      Abstract

      Background

      Cardiovagal baroreflex gain (cBRG) reflects an individual's ability to buffer swings in blood pressure. It is not well understood how this mechanism is influenced by physical activity in pregnancy. Because pregnant women tend to engage in low levels of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and high levels of sedentary behaviour, we sought to determine the influence of MVPA and sedentary behaviour on cBRG and mean arterial pressure (MAP) in pregnancy.

      Methods

      Fifty-eight third trimester (31.9 ± 3.0 weeks) normotensive pregnant women (31.2 ± 2.8 years) were tested. Heart rate (electrocardiogram) and blood pressure (systolic blood pressure and MAP; finger photoplethysmography) were collected on a beat-by-beat basis, and averaged over 3 minutes of rest. Spontaneous cBRG was calculated as the slope of the relationship between fluctuations in systolic blood pressure and heart rate. Objective measures of MVPA and sedentary behaviour were collected over a 7-day period using an ActiGraph accelerometer (model wGTX3-BT; ActiGraph LLC, Pensacola, FL).

      Results

      Participants spent 67.5 ± 7.9% of waking hours engaged in sedentary behaviour, and performed 68.6 ± 91.9 minutes of MVPA per week. Sedentary behaviour was not related to cBRG (r = −0.035; P = 0.793) or MAP (r = −0.033; P = 0.803). However, MVPA was positively associated with cBRG (r = 0.315; P = 0.016), but not MAP (r = −0.115; P = 0.389). The association between MVPA and cBRG remained significant after controlling for age, pre-pregnancy body mass index, gestational age, and wear time (r = 0.338; P = 0.013), indicating that women who engaged in greater amounts of MVPA showed increased cBRG.

      Conclusions

      Our data suggest that increased MVPA, but not necessarily reduced sedentary behaviour, might be beneficial for reflex control of blood pressure during pregnancy.

      Résumé

      Contexte

      La sensibilité (gain) du baroréflexe cardiovagal (SBRc) reflète la capacité individuelle d’amortir les variations de la pression sanguine. L’influence que l’activité physique peut avoir sur ce mécanisme durant la grossesse n’est pas entièrement élucidée. Étant donné que les femmes enceintes ont tendance à pratiquer peu d’activités physiques modérées ou vigoureuses (APMV) et à adopter des comportements caractérisés par un degré élevé de sédentarité, nous avons cherché à déterminer l’influence des APMV et des comportements sédentaires sur la SBRc et la pression artérielle moyenne (PAM) pendant la grossesse.

      Méthodologie

      Cinquante-huit femmes enceintes (31,2 ± 2,8 ans) normotendues parvenues au troisième trimestre de leur grossesse (31,9 ± 3,0 semaines) ont été les sujets de notre étude. La fréquence cardiaque (électrocardiogramme) et la pression artérielle (pression artérielle systolique et PAM; photopléthysmographie digitale) ont été mesurées à chaque battement cardiaque, et leur moyenne établie sur 3 minutes au repos. Les valeurs de la SBRc spontanée, correspondant à la pente de la relation entre les fluctuations de la pression artérielle systolique et la fréquence cardiaque, ont été notées. Des mesures objectives des APMV et des comportements sédentaires ont été recueillies sur une période de 7 jours à l’aide d’un accéléromètre ActiGraph (modèle wGTX3-BT; ActiGraph LLC, Pensacola, FL).

      Résultats

      Les participantes ont consacré 67,5 ± 7,9 % du temps d’éveil à des comportements sédentaires et 68,6 ± 91,9 minutes à des APMV chaque semaine. Les comportements sédentaires n’étaient liés ni à la SBRc (r = −0,035; p = 0,793) ni à la PAM (r = −0,033; p = 0,803). Toutefois, les APMV étaient positivement associées à la SBRc (r = 0,315; p = 0,016), mais pas à la PAM (r = −0,115; p = 0,389). L’association entre les APMV et la SBRc est demeurée significative après l’ajustement en fonction de l’âge, de l’indice de masse corporelle avant la grossesse, de l’âge gestationnel et du temps de port (r = 0,338, p = 0,013), ce qui indique un accroissement de la SBRc chez les femmes ayant pratiqué plus d’APMV.

      Conclusions

      Nos données permettent de penser que la pratique accrue d’APMV, mais pas nécessairement une diminution des comportements sédentaires, pourrait avoir un effet favorable sur le réflexe de régulation de la pression artérielle durant la grossesse.
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