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Clin Med Insights Womens Health. 2016 May 19;9(Suppl 1):17-21. doi: 10.4137/CMWH.S34684. eCollection 2016.

Activity in Pregnancy for Patients with a History of Preterm Birth.

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Resident, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Duke University, Durham, NC, USA.
Professor, Division of Maternal Fetal Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC, USA.
Associate Professor, Foundational Sciences and Research, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC, USA.


Preterm birth remains a leading cause of neonatal morbidity and mortality throughout the world. Numerous risk factors for preterm birth have been identified, including non-Hispanic black race, a variety of social and behavioral factors, infections, and history of a prior preterm delivery. Of these, a history of prior spontaneous preterm birth is one of the strongest risk factors. Traditionally, women with a history of preterm birth or those deemed at high risk for preterm delivery have been placed on bed rest or a reduced activity regimen during their pregnancy. However, there is little evidence to support this recommendation. Recent research has suggested that regular physical activity and exercise during pregnancy is safe and does not increase the risk of preterm delivery. Therefore, physicians should encourage women with a history of preterm birth to exercise throughout pregnancy according to guidelines published by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists as long as they are receiving regular prenatal care and their current health status permits exercise. However, there are no randomized controlled trials evaluating exercise prescription in women with a history of preterm birth, hence additional research is needed in this area.


bed rest; exercise; pregnancy; preterm birth; recurrent preterm birth

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