Journal Article

Work, Leisure-Time Physical Activity, and Risk of Preeclampsia and Gestational Hypertension

Audrey F. Saftlas, Nyla Logsden-Sackett, Wenquan Wang, Robert Woolson and Michael B. Bracken

in American Journal of Epidemiology

Published on behalf of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Volume 160, issue 8, pages 758-765
Published in print October 2004 | ISSN: 0002-9262
Published online October 2004 | e-ISSN: 1476-6256 | DOI:
Work, Leisure-Time Physical Activity, and Risk of Preeclampsia and Gestational Hypertension

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Few studies of preeclampsia have assessed physical activity level, yet recent evidence suggests that the pathologic mechanisms in preeclampsia are similar to those in cardiovascular disease, for which physical activity is shown to be protective. The authors assessed the independent and combined effects of work and regular leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) during early pregnancy on risk of de novo preeclampsia (n = 44) and gestational hypertension (n = 172) among women recruited from 13 obstetric practices in the New Haven, Connecticut, area between 1988 and 1991. Control subjects were normotensive throughout pregnancy (n = 2,422). Information on time at work spent sitting, standing, and walking and on LTPA before and during pregnancy was collected via face-to-face interviews. Logistic regression analyses suggested that women who engaged in any regular LTPA regardless of caloric expenditure (adjusted odds ratio (aOR) = 0.66, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.35, 1.22), were unemployed (aOR = 0.64, 95% CI: 0.21, 2.00), or had nonsedentary jobs (aOR = 0.71, 95% CI: 0.37, 1.36) were at decreased risk of preeclampsia. Analyses of gestational hypertension showed no indication of a protective effect of workplace activity, LTPA, or unemployment. Consistent with other studies, these data suggest that regular physical activity during pregnancy may reduce preeclampsia risk.

Keywords: employment; exercise; hypertension; motor activity; pre-eclampsia; pregnancy; Abbreviations: aOR, adjusted odds ratio; CI, confidence interval; LTPA, leisure-time physical activity.

Journal Article.  5712 words. 

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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