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Pregnant Women May Engage in Warm Exercise for Short Times

Brief time in hot bath or sauna also does not raise Tcore past teratogenic level of 39 degrees Celsius

FRIDAY, March 2, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Pregnant women can safely exercise in warm weather or sit in hot baths or saunas for a short period of time without risking critical elevations in core temperature, according to a review published online March 1 in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

Nicholas Ravanelli, from the University of Sydney, and colleagues conducted a literature review to identify studies reporting the core temperature (Tcore) response of pregnant women, at any period of gestation, to exercise or passive heat stress. The authors included 12 studies with 347 participants in their analysis.

The researchers found that the highest Tcore was 38.9 degrees Celsius, which was reported during land-based exercise. No woman exceeded a Tcore of 39 degrees Celsius, which is considered maternal hyperthermia in pregnant women. The highest mean end-trial Tcore was 38.3 degrees Celsius for land-based exercise, 37.5 degrees Celsius for water immersion exercise, 36.9 degrees Celsius for hot water bathing, and 37.6 degrees Celsius for sauna exposure.

“Pregnant women can safely engage in: (1) exercise for up to 35 minutes at 80 to 90 percent of their maximum heart rate in 25 degrees Celsius and 45 percent relative humidity (RH); (2) water immersion (≤33.4 degrees Celsius) exercise for up to 45 minutes; and (3) sitting in hot baths (40 degrees Celsius) or hot/dry saunas (70 degrees Celsius; 15 percent RH) for up to 20 minutes, irrespective of pregnancy stage, without reaching a core temperature exceeding the teratogenic threshold,” the authors write.

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