Physical activity in pregnancy: a Norwegian-Swedish mother-child birth cohort study
Carlsen, Oda Cecilie; Gudmundsdóttir, Hrefna Katrín; Bains, Karen Eline Stensby; Bertelsen, Randi Jacobsen; Carlsen, Karin C. Lødrup; Carlsen, Kai-Håkon; Endre, Kim Magnus Advocaat; Granum, Berit; Haugen, Guttorm; Hedlin, Gunilla; Jonassen, Christine M; Kreyberg, Ina; Landrø, Linn Aina Ysland; Olsson, Caroline-Aleksi; Nordlund, Björn; Nordhagen, Live Solveig; Pehrson, Kristian; Saunders, Carina M.; Sjøborg, Katrine Dønvold; Skjerven, Håvard Ove; Staff, Anne Cathrine; Svanes, Cecilie; Söderhall, Cilla; Vettukattil, Riyas; Værnesbranden, Caren Magdalena Rydland; Wiik, Johanna; Rehbinder, Eva Maria
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionAJOG Global Reports. 2021, 1 (1), 100002. 10.1016/j.xagr.2020.100002
BACKGROUND Physical activity during pregnancy is important for maternal and offspring health. Optimal conditions during pregnancy may help reduce the burden of noncommunicable diseases. National and international guidelines recommend at least 150 minutes of physical activity of at least moderate intensity per week. To optimize physical activity in pregnant women, it is important to identify factors associated with higher levels of physical activity. OBJECTIVE This study aimed to explore types and levels of physical activity in midpregnancy in Norway and Sweden and to identify factors associated with higher levels of physical activity. MATERIALS AND METHODS From the population-based mother-child cohort Preventing Atopic Dermatitis and Allergies in Children study recruiting 2697 women in Norway and Sweden from 2014 to 2016, we included 2349 women who answered an electronic questionnaire at enrollment in midpregnancy. Women were asked about regular physical activity in the last 2 weeks of pregnancy and afterward for types and levels of physical activity in pregnancy and before pregnancy and socioeconomic status, lifestyle, and maternal health. Logistic regression analyses were used to identify factors associated with higher levels of physical activity in pregnancy, defined as >30 minutes per session of ≥2 times per week of moderate- or high-intensity brisk walking, strength training, jogging, and bicycling. RESULTS No regular physical activity during the last 2 weeks before answering the questionnaire at midpregnancy was reported by 689 women (29%). In this study, 1787 women (76%) reported weekly strolling during pregnancy. Regular physical activity at least twice weekly in the first half of pregnancy was reported as brisk walking by 839 women (36%), bicycling by 361 women (15%), strength training by 322 women (14%), and other activities by <10% of women. Among the 1430 women with regular moderate- or high-intensity physical activity, the estimated median duration per week was 120 minutes. Higher physical activity levels were achieved in 553 women (23.5%) by brisk walking, 287 women (12.2%) by strength training, 263 women (11.2%) by bicycling, and 114 women (4.9%) by jogging. Higher physical activity levels were positively associated with regular physical activity before pregnancy, dog ownership, and atopic dermatitis and negatively associated with higher body mass index, study location in Østfold, previous pregnancy or pregnancies, non-Nordic origin, suburban living, and sick leave. CONCLUSION At midpregnancy, 29% of women were inactive, and less than 50% of women had at least 2 hours of moderate-intensity physical activity weekly. Awareness of physical activity in pregnancy should be discussed at pregnancy follow-up visits, particularly among women with higher body mass index, sick leave, previous pregnancy or pregnancies, and non-Nordic origin.