Maternal and Child Health Journal

, Volume 19, Issue 11, pp 2523–2535 | Cite as

Physical Activity and Sedentary Behavior Patterns Before and During Pregnancy in a Multi-ethnic Sample of Asian Women in Singapore

  • N. Padmapriya
  • Liang Shen
  • Shu-E Soh
  • Zhe Shen
  • Kenneth Kwek
  • Keith M. Godfrey
  • Peter D. Gluckman
  • Yap-Seng Chong
  • Seang-Mei Saw
  • Falk Müller-Riemenschneider



To describe physical activity (PA) and sedentary behavior (SB) patterns before and during pregnancy among Chinese, Malay and Indian women. In addition, to investigate determinants of change in PA and SB during pregnancy.


The Growing Up in Singapore Towards healthy Outcomes cohort recruited first trimester pregnant women. PA and SB (sitting time and television time) before and during pregnancy were assessed as a part of an interview questionnaire at weeks 26–28 gestational clinic visit. Total energy expenditure (TEE) on PA and time in SB were calculated. Determinants of change in PA and SB were investigated using multiple logistic regression analysis.


PA and SB questions were answered by 94 % (n = 1171) of total recruited subjects. A significant reduction in TEE was observed from before to during pregnancy [median 1746.0–1039.5 metabolic equivalent task (MET) min/week, p < 0.001]. The proportion of women insufficiently active (<600 MET-min/week) increased from 19.0 to 34.1 % (p < 0.001). Similarly, sitting time (median 56.0–63.0 h/week, p < 0.001) and television time (mean 16.1–16.7 h/week, p = 0.01) increased. Women with higher household income, lower level of perceived health, nausea/vomiting during pregnancy and higher level of pre-pregnancy PA were more likely to reduce PA. Women with children were less likely to reduce PA. Women reporting nausea/vomiting and lower level of pre-pregnancy sitting time were more likely to increase sitting time.

Conclusions for Practice

Participants substantially reduced PA and increased SB by 26–28 weeks of pregnancy. Further research is needed to better understand determinants of change in PA and SB and develop effective health promotion strategies.


Pregnancy Physical activity Sedentary behavior Changes in pregnancy Television 



This research is supported by the Singapore National Research Foundation under its Translational and Clinical Research (TCR) Flagship Programme and administered by the Singapore Ministry of Health’s National Medical Research Council (NMRC), Singapore—NMRC/TCR/004-NUS/2008; NMRC/TCR/012-NUHS/2014. Additional funding is provided by the Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences, Agency for Science Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore. K.M.G. is supported by the National Institute for Health Research through the NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre. We would like to thank GUSTO study group, operational managers, research fellows, study coordinators and data management team. We greatly appreciate voluntary participation of all participants, and cooperation of maternity units in KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital and National University Hospital and their staff. The GUSTO study group includes Pratibha Agarwal, Arijit Biswas, Choon Looi Bong, Birit F. P. Broekman, Shirong Cai, Jerry Kok Yen Chan, Yiong Huak Chan, Cornelia Yin Ing Chee, Helen Chen, Yin Bun Cheung, Audrey Chia, Amutha Chinnadurai, Chai Kiat Chng, Mary Foong-Fong Chong, Shang Chee Chong, Mei Chien Chua, Eric Andrew Finkelstein, Doris Fok, Marielle V. Fortier, Anne Eng Neo Goh, Yam Thiam Daniel Goh, Joshua J. Gooley, Wee Meng Han, Mark Hanson, Christiani Jeyakumar Henry, Joanna D. Holbrook, Chin-Ying Hsu, Hazel Inskip, Jeevesh Kapur, Ivy Yee-Man Lau, Bee Wah Lee, Yung Seng Lee, Ngee Lek, Sok Bee Lim, Iliana Magiati, Lourdes Mary Daniel, Michael Meaney, Cheryl Ngo, Krishnamoorthy Niduvaje, Wei Wei Pang, Anqi Qiu, Boon Long Quah, Victor Samuel Rajadurai, Mary Rauff, Salome A. Rebello, Jenny L. Richmond, Anne Rifkin-Graboi, Lynette Pei-Chi Shek, Allan Sheppard, Borys Shuter, Leher Singh, Walter Stunkel, Lin Lin Su, Kok Hian Tan, Oon Hoe Teoh, Mya Thway Tint, Hugo P. S. van Bever, Rob M. van Dam, Inez Bik Yun Wong, P. C. Wong, Fabian Yap, George Seow Heong Yeo.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. Padmapriya
    • 1
  • Liang Shen
    • 2
  • Shu-E Soh
    • 3
    • 6
  • Zhe Shen
    • 1
  • Kenneth Kwek
    • 4
  • Keith M. Godfrey
    • 5
  • Peter D. Gluckman
    • 6
    • 7
  • Yap-Seng Chong
    • 1
    • 6
  • Seang-Mei Saw
    • 8
  • Falk Müller-Riemenschneider
    • 8
    • 9
  1. 1.Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Yong Loo Lin School of MedicineNational University of Singapore, National University Health SystemSingaporeSingapore
  2. 2.Biostatistics Unit, Yong Loo Lin School of MedicineNational University of Singapore, National University Health SystemSingaporeSingapore
  3. 3.Department of Paediatrics, Yong Loo Lin School of MedicineNational University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore
  4. 4.KK Women’s and Children’s HospitalSingaporeSingapore
  5. 5.MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit and NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre, University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust and University of SouthamptonSouthamptonUK
  6. 6.Singapore Institute for Clinical SciencesAgency for Science and Technology Research (A*STAR)SingaporeSingapore
  7. 7.Liggins InstituteUniversity of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand
  8. 8.Saw Swee Hock School of Public HealthNational University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore
  9. 9.Institute for Social Medicine, Epidemiology and Health EconomicsCharite University Medical CentreBerlinGermany

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