Activity patterns during pregnancy

Can J Appl Physiol. 2003 Aug;28(4):642-53. doi: 10.1139/h03-049.


The purpose of this study was to investigate determinants of the activity patterns of women prior to pregnancy and factors associated with quitting activities during pregnancy.

Methods: These data arose from a study designed to look at the impact of exercise in pregnancy on birth weight (Campbell and Mottola, 2001). This secondary analysis explored relationships between subject characteristics and exercise patterns via a self-completed questionnaire. Univariable and multivariable odds ratios were estimated using logistic regression. Multivariable models used backward stepwise variable selection.

Results: A total of 853 women agreed to participate and 529 women (62%) returned completed questionnaires. Of these, 369 (70%) and 258 (49%) engaged in a structured exercise program before pregnancy and in Trimester 3, respectively. Factors associated with engaging in regular structured exercise prior to pregnancy included: postsecondary education (OR = 1.50; 0.98, 2.30), no children (OR = 2.44; 1.56, 3.82), nonsmoker (OR = 1.84; 1.18, 2.88), and involvement in regular recreational activities (OR = 3.07; 1.81, 5.20). During pregnancy, all categories of activity decreased except walking, which increased by Trimester 3. Factors associated with quitting a regular structured exercise program by Trimester 3 were: having children (OR = 1.67; 1.05, 2.67), a prepregnancy BMI of 25 (OR = 1.79; 1.04, 3.13), and higher weight gain.

Implications: Community programs that encourage active living should address these factors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Body Mass Index
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Odds Ratio
  • Pregnancy / physiology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Weight Gain