Epidemiological studies in Poland on effect of physical activity of pregnant women on the health of offspring and future generations – adaptation of the hypothesis Development Origin of Health and Diseases

Department of Health Promotion, Food and Nutrition, Institute of Rural Health, Lublin, Poland
Independent Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Institute of Rural Health, Lublin, Poland and Department of Public Health, University of Information Technology and Management, Rzeszow, Poland
Department of Functional Research, Institute of Rural Health, Lublin, Poland
Second Department of Gynecology, Medical University, Lublin, Poland
Chief Sanitary Inspectorate, Warsaw, Poland and Institute of Haematology and Transfusion Medicine, Warsaw, Poland
Ann Agric Environ Med 2012;19(2):315–326
It is recognized that the levels of women's physical activity during pregnancy has a direct bearing on the method of delivery and health of the newborn. The main objective of the study was investigation of the level of physical activity of women during pregnancy according to the Pregnancy Physical Activity Questionnaire (PPAQ). The subjects of this study were n=2852 post-partum women surveyed together with their newborns, representing all obstetric hospital departments throughout Poland. The questionnaires were completed on a single day during the second week of November 2011. The women were also asked about the amount, range and type of physical activity they performed before becoming pregnant. The Pregnancy Physical Activity Questionnaire was used for precisely measuring physical activity according to the standard metabolically equivalent (MET). In addition, comparisons were made between the weight of the infant and newborn status using the APGAR scale with the amount of physical activity performed by the mothers. There were decidedly low physical activity levels observed in pregnant women compared to those before becoming pregnant. Appropriate interventions can therefore now be targeted through remedial action in Poland. It is important to perform intervention studies intended to test this hypothesis and attempt to identify the most appropriate levels for intensity, duration and frequency of physical exercise during pregnancy. The studies should consider the four domains of daily physical activity and utilize tools that reliably measure exposure variables. Such studies would provide valuable information for recommendations about physical activity during pregnancy.