Physical activity during pregnancy in obese and normal-weight women as assessed by pedometer

Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2010 Jul;89(7):956-61. doi: 10.3109/00016341003792459.


Objective: To compare physical activity as assessed by a pedometer in obese and normal-weight pregnant women at different gestational ages. To evaluate the use of a pedometer in pregnancy.

Design: Cross-sectional study.

Setting: Department of obstetrics and gynecology in a university hospital in Copenhagen.

Population: 338 pregnant women, 175 normal-weight women with body mass index (BMI) 20-25 kg/m(2) and 163 obese women with BMI > or = 30 kg/m(2).

Methods: Physical activity was assessed by a pedometer (Yamax Digiwalker SW-700/701) on seven consecutive days in six different groups: normal-weight or obese at gestational ages 11-13, 18-22, and 36-38, and expressed as median number of daily steps during a whole week, working days, and weekends.

Main outcome measures: Relation between BMI and physical activity during pregnancy and compliance with wearing the pedometer.

Results: Noncompliance was more frequent in obese than in normal-weight women (19 vs. 10%, p < 0.001). Physical activity was lower in obese women at all gestational ages (6,482, 7,446, 4,626 steps/day in obese vs. 7,558, 8,865, 6,289 steps/day in normal-weight, p < 0.05-0.11). The greatest difference between obese and normal-weight women was seen during weekends. The level of physical activity was higher in both groups at mid-gestation than during earlier and later gestational ages.

Conclusion: Physical activity in pregnant women can be assessed by the pedometer and the method was well accepted by the women; however, the compliance was lower in the obese. The level of physical activity differs between different gestational groups and is lower in obese than in normal-weight women, especially during leisure time.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index*
  • Body Weight / physiology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Health Promotion
  • Humans
  • Monitoring, Physiologic / instrumentation
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Obesity / diagnosis
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Obesity / physiopathology*
  • Pregnancy / physiology*
  • Pregnancy Complications / physiopathology*
  • Reference Values
  • Risk Assessment
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Walking / physiology*