Federal physical activity guidelines recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week during pregnancy. We studied whether regular exercise during pregnancy is associated with preterm birth, cesarean delivery, and hospitalization during pregnancy.
Self-reported weekly exercise was ascertained in 3,006 women during the third trimester of pregnancy. Using multivariable logistic regression, we report the relationship between regular exercise (≥150 min/wk) and late preterm birth, cesarean delivery, and hospitalization during pregnancy, controlling for age, race, marital status, education, poverty status, prepregnancy body mass index weight category, gestational weight gain, and prepregnancy diabetes or hypertension.
Nearly one third of women reported meeting current federal physical activity recommendations during pregnancy. Five percent had late preterm birth, 29% had cesarean deliveries, and 20% reported hospitalization during pregnancy. In multivariable analysis, regular exercise during pregnancy was not associated with late preterm birth or hospitalization during pregnancy. Physical activity of 150 or more minutes per week was associated with reduced odds of cesarean delivery compared with less than 60 minutes per week, but the finding was not significant (adjusted odds ratio, 0.86; 95% confidence interval, 0.69–1.07).
In the First Baby Study, physical activity was not associated with late preterm birth or hospitalizations, and may be associated with decreased odds of cesarean delivery.
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Jennifer Tinloy, DO, is an Internal Medicine physician at MidState Medical Center in Meriden, CT. This work was completed while she was an Internal Medicine resident at the Penn State College of Medicine/Hershey Medical Center.
Cynthia Chuang, MD, MSc, is Associate Professor of Medicine and Public Health Sciences at the Penn State College of Medicine. Her research focuses on reproductive and contraceptive health care for women with chronic medical conditions.
Junjia Zhu, PhD, is Assistant Professor of Public Health Sciences at the Penn State College of Medicine. He is a biostatistician with expertise with statistical applications in reproductive health and cancer-related research.
Jaimey Pauli, MD, is Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Penn State College of Medicine. She is a Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialist.
Jennifer Kraschnewski, MD, MPH, is Assistant Professor of Medicine and Public Health Sciences at the Penn State College of Medicine. She is a general internist with research interests in weight control interventions.
Kristen Kjerulff, MA, PhD, is Professor of Public Health Sciences and Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Penn State College of Medicine and has been conducting research in women's health for over 20 years.
Accepted: November 8, 2013
Received in revised form: November 8, 2013
Received: July 12, 2013
© 2014 Jacobs Institute of Women's Health. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.