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Revista de Saúde Pública

Print version ISSN 0034-8910


CARVALHAES, Maria Antonieta de Barros Leite et al. Physical activity in pregnant women receiving care in primary health care units. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 2013, vol.47, n.5, pp.958-967. ISSN 0034-8910.


To describe physical-activity patterns of low-risk pregnant women and investigate associated factors.


This is a cross-sectional study based on a sample (n = 256) of adult pregnant women in their 2ndtrimester. The participants were randomly selected among those attending primary health care units in Botucatu in Sao Paulo State in 2010. Physical activities were investigated by using the pregnancy physical activity questionnaire and by analyzing the time and intensity of the following activities: occupational, commuting, household and leisure, expressed in metabolic equivalents/day. The pregnant women were classified according to their level of physical activity and to achieving 150 minutes/week of leisure physical activities, which were the dependent variables in the study. The association between such variables and socioeconomic variables, maternal characteristics, behavioral factors and the care model in the health care unit was evaluated by Poisson regression models with robust variance and by adopting the hierarchical model.


Most pregnant women were insufficiently active (77.7%); 12.5% were moderately active and 9.8% were vigorously active. The highest daily energy expenditure was in carrying out household activities, followed by commuting activities. Only 10.2% of them followed the recommendation, successfully achieving 150 minutes of leisure physical activities per week. Having a job outside of the home reduced the chance of achieving such recommendation (OR = 0.39, 95%CI 0.16;0.93). Having at least one previous delivery (OR = 0.87, 95%CI 0.77;0.99) and being overweight pre-pregnancy (OR = 0.85, 95%CI 0.731;0.99) reduced the chance of being insufficiently active whereas consuming healthy foods less frequently slightly increased it: OR = 1.18, 95%CI 1.02;1.36.


Pregnant women who were cared for in primary health care units were insufficiently active. Having at least one previous delivery and being overweight pre-pregnancy were identified as protective factors against such condition. Less frequent intake of healthy foods was found to be a risk factor, therefore suggesting a cluster of health risk factors.

Keywords : Pregnant Women; Motor Activity; Leisure Activities; Sedentary Lifestyle; Risk Factors; Cross-Sectional Studies.

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