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Rev Saude Publica. 2007 Apr;41(2):173-80.

Leisure-time physical activity during pregnancy in the 2004 Pelotas Birth Cohort Study.

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  • 1Programa de Pós-graduação em Epidemiologia, Universidade Federal de Pelotas, Av. Duque de Caxias 150, 96030-002 Pelotas, RS, Brazil.

Erratum in

  • Rev Saude Publica. 2007 Jun;41(3):493.



Physical activity during pregnancy is a poorly investigated subject on population level. The study aimed to describe duration, type and frequency of leisure-time physical activity during pregnancy, and to explore its associated factors.


A population-based study was carried out during 2004 in Southern Brazil. A total of 4,471 mothers were interviewed soon after delivery. Physical activity was measured using a questionnaire, developed for the study. Results were obtained by Poisson regression.


In the sample, 14.8% of women reported to engage in some type of physical activity prior to pregnancy and 12.9% during pregnancy. In the first trimester, 10.4% of all mothers engaged in some type of physical activity; 8.5% in the second trimester and 6.5% in the third trimester. Only 194 mothers (4.3%) were active during the whole pregnancy. In the adjusted analysis, leisure-time physical activity was positively associated with schooling, physical activity advice during prenatal care, and family income (p<0.001), being employed during pregnancy (p=0.05), and number of pregnancies (p=0.02). Walking was the most frequent activity.


The prevalence of leisure-time physical activity is low among Brazilian pregnant women. Although physical activity is not perceived as being pregnancy-threatening, and current guidelines recommend it, this population's behavior does not seem to be changing. Active lifestyle for both pregnant women and future mothers should be encouraged.

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