A sub-study shows that pregnant women in Västerbotten gain more weight and are less physically active during their pregnancy than recommended. This increases the risk of emergency caesarean section and bleeding, and is associated with poorer perceived health during pregnancy.
– This is an important finding as it shows that there are opportunities to improve the health of pregnant women and their children in Västerbotten, says Lina Meander at the Department of Clinical Sciences at Umeå University and first author of the study.
The NorthPop study started in 2016 and has so far followed 5 000 pregnant women in Västerbotten county, Sweden. Almost half, 49%, gained more weight during their pregnancy than international health recommendations. Only 27% reported a level of physical activity in line with the recommendations to maintain good health.
The study showed a connection between a sedentary lifestyle and worsening health during the pregnancy. The more physically active women had less weight gain and a generally better health during the pregnancy including a decreased risk of an emergency caesarean.
This is the first scientific publication from the NorthPop project. In total 10 000 pregnant women in Västerbotten county will be included. The women, their partners and children are followed until the children reach school age. The project will generate a large amount of research results during the coming decades.
– It is great that our large foundation work with parents and children is now starting to generate results that can contribute to improved health. There are also already a number of other interesting sub-studies underway, says Magnus Domellöf, principal investigator for NorthPop.
The study on the weight gain and physical activity of the pregnant women in NorthPop has been published in BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth.
Physical activity and sedentary time during pregnancy and associations with maternal and fetal health outcomes: an epidemiological study
Lina Meander, Maria Lindqvist, Ingrid Mogren, Jonas Sandlund, Christina E. West, Magnus Domellöf
BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth