Dietary intake, weight gain, and birth outcomes of physically active pregnant women: a pilot study

Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2006 Oct;31(5):483-9. doi: 10.1139/h06-024.


Pregnant women have increased energy and nutrient needs. Exercise also increases energy and glucose demands. This pilot study examined whether women who were physically active during pregnancy met their dietary needs, gained weight adequately, avoided hypoglycemia, and had normal birth outcomes. Based on a convenience sample, 11 active women were studied from 18 weeks gestation to delivery. They exercised for 40 min at 70% VO2 peak, 3-4 times per week. Weekly measures included capillary blood glucose concentrations, body mass, and food records. Birth outcome measures included baby mass, length, and activity, pulse, grimace, appearance, and respiration (APGAR) scores. Our findings suggest that these subjects had lower average energy intake (8680 +/- 490 kJ/d) than recommended for the 2nd and 3rd trimesters (13,020 +/-185 kJ/d; 13,480 +/- 185 kJ/d, respectively, p < 0.0001). Protein requirements for pregnancy were exceeded. Average intakes of iron (19 +/- 2 mg/d) and folate (356 +/- 33 microg/d) were lower than Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) (27 mg/d and 600 microg/d, respectively) and milk products consumed were less than the recommended daily servings. Four women gained less weight per week than recommended for pregnancy. No hypoglycemia occurred post-exercise. Birth outcome measures were within normal ranges. Comparative studies with a larger number of subjects are required to determine if active pregnant women have adequate nutrient intakes and weight gain.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Diet*
  • Energy Intake
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Folic Acid / administration & dosage
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemia / epidemiology
  • Iron, Dietary / administration & dosage
  • Nutritional Requirements
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Pilot Projects
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / epidemiology
  • Pregnancy Outcome*
  • Weight Gain*


  • Blood Glucose
  • Iron, Dietary
  • Folic Acid