Leisure time physical activity during pregnancy and impact on gestational diabetes mellitus, pre-eclampsia, preterm delivery and birth weight: a review

Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2007;86(11):1290-6. doi: 10.1080/00016340701647341. Epub 2007 Sep 7.


Background: It has been questioned whether leisure time physical activity (LTPA) during pregnancy is beneficial or deleterious to pregnancy outcome, and whether a sedentary lifestyle during pregnancy has a negative impact on pregnancy. Answers to these questions are of general interest, since some young women are very physically active during leisure time, while others have a sedentary lifestyle.

Method: In this review, we analysed the association between LTPA and the selected pregnancy outcomes, gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), pre-eclampsia, preterm delivery, and birth weight.

Results: The prevailing literature clearly indicates that LTPA before and/or during pregnancy has a protective effect on the development of GDM and pre-eclampsia. Furthermore, LTPA does not seem to have a negative impact on the rate of preterm delivery or on birth weight.

Conclusion: Thus, it seems relevant that health authorities recommend 30 min of daily physical activity to healthy pregnant women.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Birth Weight*
  • Diabetes, Gestational / etiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leisure Activities*
  • Motor Activity*
  • Pre-Eclampsia / etiology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Premature Birth / etiology*
  • Risk Assessment