Excessive maternal inflammation during pregnancy increases the risk for maternal and neonatal metabolic complications. Fortunately, maternal physical activity during pregnancy appears to reduce maternal inflammation. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between maternal physical activity intensity and maternal inflammation during late pregnancy. Maternal physical activity levels (sedentary, light, lifestyle, and moderate), fitness levels, and systemic inflammation (plasma C-reactive protein (CRP) concentration) were measured between 32-37 weeks gestation. Relationships were examined by Spearman Rank Coefficient Correlation analyses. Maternal plasma CRP was negatively associated with time spent in light and lifestyle physical activities (Light: r=-0.40, p=0.01; Lifestyle: r=-0.31, p=0.03), but not with time spent in moderate physical activity (r=-0.18, p=0.21). Higher maternal plasma CRP tended to correlate with more time spent sedentary (r=0.27, p=0.06). In addition, increases in light and lifestyle activities may elicit a clinically meaningful change in inflammation. In conclusion, pregnant women should be encouraged to incorporate more low-intensity physical activities into their daily routines in order to decrease systemic inflammation and potentially improve maternal and neonatal pregnancy outcomes.
Keywords: Inflammation; Physical activity; Pregnancy.