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J Pregnancy. 2013;2013:780180. doi: 10.1155/2013/780180. Epub 2013 Jan 29.

Prepregnancy physical activity in relation to offspring birth weight: a prospective population-based study in Norway-The HUNT Study.

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  • 1Department of Human Movement Science, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, 7491 Trondheim, Norway.


Background. The objective was to examine the association between prepregnancy physical exercise and offspring birth weight and to assess the combined association of pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI) and physical exercise on birth weight. Methods. The study included 2,026 women aged 20-39 years participating in the Norwegian HUNT study and linked with the Medical Birth Registry. We calculated mean differences in birth weight and odds ratios (ORs) for a macrosomic infant (i.e., birth weight >4000 g) using linear and logistic regression analysis. Results. There was no clear association between leisure time physical exercise and mean birth weight. Women who reported no exercise had reduced risk of a macrosomic infant (OR, 0.6; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.4-0.9) compared to women with a high exercise level. Overweight (BMI ≥ 25.0 kg/m(2)) was associated with an OR of 1.9 (95% CI, 1.2-2.9) for a macrosomic infant among women who reported low exercise levels, whereas the OR was 1.2 (95% CI, 0.8-1.8) among women with higher exercise levels. Conclusion. There was some evidence that women who reported no exercise before pregnancy had lower risk for a macrosomic infant than women who exercised. Pre-pregnancy BMI was positively associated with birth weight and risk of macrosomia but only among the least active women.

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