n African Journal for Physical Health Education, Recreation and Dance - Birth weight does not associate with gestational physical activity profile : a retrospective cohort study - : health

Volume 21 Number 3.1
  • ISSN : 1117-4315


Exercise during pregnancy has been a subject of debate and whether gestational physical activity profile affects birth weight is an important issue as birth weight is an indicator of fetal, neo-natal and post-natal mortality. This study was carried at three hospitals in Enugu, Eastern Nigeria to determine the difference between the birth weight of babies born to women who were physically active during pregnancy and those who were sedentary. In this retrospective cohort, gestational physical activity profile of women who gave birth to normal singleton babies through vaginal delivery and did not have any complication were collected with a modified general practice physical activity questionnaire (GPPAQ) enabling participants grouping into active and sedentary groups. Mean birth weight of both the physically active and sedentary groups was significantly higher than the WHO minimum standard birth weight of new born babies. However, no significant difference was found in the mean weight of babies of physically active women and their sedentary counterparts. The mean birth weight of babies in Enugu is significantly higher than the WHO minimum standard and more than halve of the pregnant women in Enugu metropolis are physically active during pregnancy irrespective of their educational qualification with primiparous more likely to be involved in physical activity than multiparous. There was no relationship between maternal physical/occupational activity and the birth weight of babies. An all-inclusive experimental study is needed to establish an effect response trend.

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