Physical Activity and Pregnancy

  • Bente Klarlund Pedersen


A physically inactive lifestyle predisposes to a number of chronic disorders such as cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. Indeed, physically inactive people have a life span that is 5 years shorter than that of people who are engaged in regular physical activity. There is evidence to support the notion that physical activity has an impact also on pregnancy outcome for mother and child.

The prevailing literature clearly indicates that leisure-time physical activity before and/or during pregnancy has a protective effect on the development of gestational diabetes mellitus, whereas the association between physical exercise and preeclampsia is unclear. In addition, regular physical activity does not appear to have a negative impact on the rate of preterm delivery or on birthweight. There is good reason to support the official recommendations stating that pregnant women in the absence of medical or obstetric complications should engage in 30 min or more of daily moderate physical activity. Future research should identify the optimal training dose for pregnant women in general, and for women at risk of, e.g., gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) and preeclampsia. In addition, it will be important to identify motivational factors and barriers with regard to being physically active throughout life, whether pregnant or not.


Physical Activity Gestational Diabetes Mellitus Early Pregnancy Preterm Delivery Regular Physical Activity 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Body mass index


Gestational diabetes mellitus


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Centre of Inflammation and Metabolism, Department of Infectious Diseases and CMRC, Rigshospitalet, Faculty of Health SciencesUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark

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