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Br J Sports Med. 2013 May;47(8):515-20. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2012-091344. Epub 2012 Aug 17.

Do pregnant women follow exercise guidelines? Prevalence data among 3482 women, and prediction of low-back pain, pelvic girdle pain and depression.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Akershus University Hospital, Lørenskog, Norway.



We describe exercise level in mid-pregnancy, associated sociodemographic variables, and investigate the association between exercise in mid-pregnancy and subsequent low-back pain, pelvic girdle pain and depression at 32 weeks of pregnancy.


The study included 3482 pregnant women participating in the Akershus Birth Cohort study (response rate 80.5%). Data were collected by a questionnaire in pregnancy weeks 17-21, pregnancy week 32 and electronic birth journal. The results were analysed by logistic regression and are presented as crude (cOR) and adjusted OR (aOR) with 95% CI.


Only 14.6% of the respondents followed the current exercise prescription for exercise during pregnancy (≥3 times a week, >20 min at moderate intensity). One-third of the study sample exercised less than once a week at pregnancy weeks 17-21. Women exercising either 1-2 times or ≥3 times a week at mid-pregnancy were more often primiparous, higher-educated and had less often prepregnacy body mass index >30 kg/m2 compared with women exercising less than once a week. Women who exercised ≥3 times a week were less likely to report pelvic girdle pain (aOR: 0.76, 95% CI 0.61 to 0.96), while women exercising 1-2 times a week were less likely to report low-back pain (aOR: 0.80, 95% CI 0.66 to 0.97) and depression (aOR: 0.66, 95% CI 0.48 to 0.91).


Few Norwegian women follow current exercise prescriptions for exercise in mid-pregnancy. The results may indicate an association between exercising mid-pregnancy and lower prevalence of low-back pain, pelvic girdle pain and depression in late pregnancy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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