Maternal leisure-time exercise and timely delivery.

Hatch M, Levin B, Shu XO, Susser M
Am J Public Health. 1998 88 (10): 1528-33

PMID: 9772857 · PMCID: PMC1508461 · DOI:10.2105/ajph.88.10.1528

OBJECTIVES - This study investigated whether, in a general obstetric population, exercise in pregnancy affects the timeliness of delivery. The hypothesis was that maternal exercise would not raise the risk of preterm birth.

METHODS - A community cohort of 557 prenatal patients was followed up until the time of delivery. Data were collected on exercise in each trimester: none, low-moderate (< 1000 kcal [4184 kJ]/wk in energy expenditure), or heavy (> or = 1000 kcal/wk). Timely delivery was adopted as an outcome criterion. Thus, in the analysis, a term birth was treated as optimal and survival techniques were used to estimate risks for both preterm and postdates delivery.

RESULTS - No association was found between low-moderate exercise and gestational length. Heavier exercise appeared to reduce, rather than raise, the risk of preterm birth. The adjusted relative risk among conditioned heavy exercisers was 0.11 (95% confidence interval = 0.02, 0.81). After term, conditioned heavy exercisers delivered faster than nonexercisers.

CONCLUSIONS - The most important finding was the lack of evidence that vigorous maternal exercise is a risk factor for preterm delivery. A promising finding was that conditioned heavy exercisers have timely deliveries.

MeSH Terms (16)

Adult Cohort Studies Delivery, Obstetric Educational Status Energy Metabolism Exercise Female Humans New York Pennsylvania Pregnancy Pregnancy Outcome Proportional Hazards Models Risk Factors Smoking Time Factors

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