Physicochemical analysis of acid—base responses to prolonged moderate exercise in late gestation

Wolfe, Larry A.; Davies, Gregory A. L.; Charlesworth, Sarah A.
December 2006
Applied Physiology, Nutrition & Metabolism;Dec2006, Vol. 31 Issue 6, p744
Academic Journal
Stewart’s physicochemical approach was employed to investigate the safety of an average recreational and occupational activity (prolonged moderate exercise) on maternal acid–base homeostasis. The responses of 10 healthy, physically active pregnant women (PG, gestational age 34–38 weeks) were compared with those of 10 non-pregnant female controls (CG). Subjects cycled for 40 min at 85% of their measured ventilatory threshold (VT). During the transition from rest to exercise, hydrogen ion concentration ([H+]) increased significantly and bicarbonate concentration ([HCO3–]) decreased significantly in both groups. Total weak acid ([Atot]) increased significantly with exercise in both groups, whereas the strong ion difference ([SID]) and CO2 tension (PaCO2) did not change significantly with exercise. Values for [H+], [HCO3–], PaCO2, [Atot] and [SID] were significantly lower in the PG vs. CG under all experimental conditions. Acid–base responses to prolonged moderate exercise are quantitatively similar in the pregnant vs. non-pregnant state. However, pregnant women maintain a lower plasma [H+] (approximately 3 neq/L (1 neq/L = 1 nmol/L)) throughout rest, exercise, and recovery, as a result of lower values for PaCO2 and [Atot], which is partly offset by a lower [SID]. The results indicate that prolonged moderate exercise appears to be well tolerated by healthy recreationally and occupationally active pregnant women.


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