We sought to examine the relation between recommended levels of physical activity during pregnancy and pregnancy outcomes.
We conducted an observational study with energy expenditure, aerobic fitness, and sleeping heart rate measured in 44 healthy women in late pregnancy. Medical records were examined for pregnancy outcome.
Active women, who engaged in ≥30 minutes of moderate physical activity per day, had significantly better fitness and lower sleeping heart rate compared to the inactive. Duration of second stage of labor was 88 and 146 minutes in the active vs inactive women, respectively (P = .05). Crude odds ratio of operative delivery in the inactive vs the active was 3.7 (95% confidence interval, 0.87–16.08). Birthweight, maternal weight gain, and parity adjusted odds ratio was 7.6 (95% confidence interval, 1.23–45.8). Neonatal condition and other obstetric outcomes were similar between groups.
Active women have better aerobic fitness as compared to inactive women. The risk for operative delivery is lower in active women compared to inactive, when controlled for birthweight, maternal weight gain, and parity. Further studies with larger sample size are required to confirm the association between physical activity and pregnancy outcomes.