Physical Activity During Pregnancy and Risk of Hyperglycemia

Journal of Women's Health, 05/08/2012

Recreational MVPA during pregnancy is associated with a lower risk of hyperglycemia, specifically among women with prepregnancy BMI <25?kg/m2. Further research is warranted to determine recommended amounts and intensities of physical activity and to discern whether there are differences in the effects of physical activity between specific modes of physical activity or among subgroups of women in relation to hyperglycemia.


  • Data were from 1437 pregnant women. Frequency, duration, and intensity of MVPA during the previous 7 days were collected via questionnaire at 17–22 weeks' gestation.
  • Modes of MVPA included work, recreation, transportation, caregiving, and indoor and outdoor household activities.
  • Hyperglycemia was defined as a glucose concentration ≥130 mg/dL on a 1–hour, 50–g glucose challenge test or gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) assessed at 27 weeks gestation.
  • Multivariable Poisson regression estimated risks of hyperglycemia associated with total and mode–specific MVPA.


  • There were 269 women (18.7%) with hyperglycemia. Any metabolic equivalent (MET) hours/week of recreational MVPA was associated with a 27% lower risk of hyperglycemia (adjusted relative risk, [aRR] 0.73, 95% confidence interval [95%CI] 0.54–0.99).
  • Multiplicative interaction terms were significant for prepregnancy body mass index (BMI) and recreational MVPA (p=0.01).
  • Among women with prepregnancy BMI <25 kg/m2, recreational MVPA was associated with a 48% lower risk of hyperglycemia (aRR 0.52, 95%CI 0.33–0.83) compared to women who reported none.
  • There was no association of hyperglycemia and recreational MVPA among women with prepregnancy BMI <25 kg/m2.

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