Moderate-to-heavy exercise reduces preterm delivery risk

April 1, 2008

Women who engage in moderate-to-heavy leisure-time activities, including sports, during pregnancy have a lower risk of preterm delivery.

Women who engage in moderate-to-heavy leisure-time activities, including sports, during pregnancy have a lower risk of preterm delivery, researchers report in the February issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Hanne K. Hegaard, from Copenhagen University Hospital in Denmark, and colleagues surveyed 5,749 pregnant women in the first and early second trimester via a self-administered questionnaire regarding whether they took part in sports and their level of leisure-time activity. A total of 210 women eventually had a preterm delivery.

The researchers found that women who trained in more than one type of sport had a significantly reduced risk of preterm delivery compared with women who did not take part in sports (OR, 0.09). Light leisure-time activity modestly reduced the risk of preterm delivery (OR, 0.76), while moderate-to-heavy leisure-time activity significantly reduced the risk of preterm delivery (OR, 0.34) compared with sedentary women.

Hegaard HK, Hedegaard M, Damm P, et al. Leisure time physical activity is associated with a reduced risk of preterm delivery. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2008;8:180.e1-.e5.