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Br J Nutr. 2006 Feb;95(2):296-302.

Activity pattern and energy expenditure due to physical activity before and during pregnancy in healthy Swedish women.

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  • 1Division of Nutrition, Department of Biomedicine and Surgery, University of Linkoping, SE-58185 Linkoping, Sweden.


Human pregnancy is associated with increased requirements for dietary energy and this increase may be partly offset by reductions in physical activity during gestation. Studies in well-nourished women have shown that the physical activity level (PAL), obtained as the total energy expenditure (TEE) divided by the BMR, decreases in late pregnancy. However, it is not known if this decrease is really caused by reductions in physical activity or if it is the result of decreases in energy expenditure/BMR (the so-called metabolic equivalent, MET) for many activities in late pregnancy. In the present study activity pattern, TEE and BMR were assessed in twenty-three healthy Swedish women before pregnancy as well as in gestational weeks 14 and 32. Activity pattern was assessed using a questionnaire and heart rate recording. TEE was assessed using the doubly labelled water method and BMR was measured by means of indirect calorimetry. When compared to the pre-pregnant value, there was little change in the PAL in gestational week 14 but it was significantly reduced in gestational week 32. Results obtained by means of the questionnaire and by heart rate recording showed that the activity pattern was largely unaffected by pregnancy. The findings support the following conclusion: in a population of well-nourished women where the activity pattern is maintained during pregnancy, the increase in BMR represents approximately the main part of the pregnancy-induced increase in TEE, at least until gestational week 32.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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