Physical activity during pregnancy

Greta Petkevičiūtė1, Adomas Aladaitis1, Vytautas Abraitis2

1 Faculty of Medicine, Academy of Medicine, Lithuanian University of Health Sciences

 2 Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Medical Academy, Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Kaunas, Lithuania


Introduction: an active life style during pregnancy has a positive impact on mother and new-born health and is recommended in international obstetric guidelines. Regular physical activity decreases chance of excessive weight gain during pregnancy. It also prevents different outcomes: preeclampsia, gestational diabetes mellitus, and might decrease some common complains: back pain, fatigue.

Aim: to identify the changes in physical activity during pregnancy and to compare sociodemographic and health-related factors in pregnant women exercising and not exercising during pregnancy.

Methods: 84 pregnant women were enrolled into the cross-sectional study. A self-administered questionnaire has been chosen as a research instrument. Questionnaire consisted of socio-demographic data, information about physical activity changes before and during pregnancy. Statistical analysis was performed using IBM SPSS 23.0 software.

Results: age mean of women who participated in this study was 28.4±5.9 years. 51.2% of respondents were primiparous and 48.8% multiparous. Before current pregnancy 16.7% women were inactive and 83.3% had an active lifestyle. While being pregnant 76.2% women were not active and only 23.8% had a physical activity at least once a week. The highest prevalence (55%) of exercise was observed in the thirst trimester. There was statistically significant relationship between being physically active and trimesters of pregnancy. There was no statistical significance between physical activity during pregnancy and gravidity. Lower limb oedema was significantly more frequent between inactive women then in active group.

Conclusions: study showed that pregnant women are more physically active during thirst trimester. Walking was the most commonly reported exercise, followed by swimming. Inactive pregnant women more often have lower limb oedema than women who has an active lifestyle during their pregnancy.

Key words: exercise, physical activity, pregnancy.