Cardiovascular autonomic modulation and baroreflex control in the second trimester of pregnancy: A cross sectional study

Mikaela Da Silva Corrêa, Aparecida Maria Catai, Juliana Cristina Milan-Mattos, Alberto Porta, Patricia Driusso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Purpose The aim is to evaluate and characterize cardiovascular autonomic control and baroreflex function and their response to an orthostatic stressor in the second trimester of pregnancy via time, frequency, information and symbolic analyses. Methods We evaluated 22 women at 18 weeks of pregnancy, labeled as pregnant group (PG) (30.8 ±4.4 years), and 22 non-pregnant women (29.8±5.4 years), labeled as control group (CG). Electrocardiogram, non-invasive photoplethysmographic arterial pressure (AP) and respiratory signals were recorded at rest at left lateral decubitus (REST) and during active standing (STAND) for 10 minutes. The heart period (HP) variability and systolic AP (SAP) variability were assessed in the frequency domain. High frequency (HF) and low frequency (LF) spectral indexes were computed. Nonlinear indexes such as symbolic markers (0V%, 1V%, 2LV % and 2UV% indexes), Shannon entropy (SE) and normalized complexity index (NCI) were calculated as well. Baroreflex control was assessed by cross-spectral HP-SAP analysis. We computed baroreflex sensitivity (BRS), HP-SAP squared coherence (K2) and phase in LF and HF bands. Results At REST, the PG had lower mean, variance and HF power of HP series and lower K2(LF), BRS(LF) and BRS(HF) than the CG. During STAND, CG and PG decreased the mean, CI, NCI and 2UV% and increased 0V% of the HP series and augmented the SAP variance. LFabs of SAP series increased during STAND solely in CG. BRS(HF) was reduced during in both PG and CG, while HFabs of HP series did not diminish during STAND either in PG or CG. Complexity of the autonomic control was similar in PG and CG regardless of the experimental condition. Conclusion We conclude that the second trimester of pregnancy was characterized by a lower parasympathetic modulation and reduced BRS at REST, preserved complexity of cardiac and vascular controls, limited sympathetic response to STAND and general conservation of the baroreflex responses to posture changes.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0216063
JournalPLoS One
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

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