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Exercise Reduces Risk of Preterm Delivery

Moderate-to-heavy leisure-time activities reduce risk

TUESDAY, Feb. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Women who engage in moderate-to-heavy leisure-time activities, such as sports, during pregnancy have a lower risk of preterm delivery, researchers report in the February issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Hanne K. Hegaard, from Copenhagen University Hospital in Denmark, and colleagues surveyed 5,749 pregnant women in the first and early second trimester via a self-administered questionnaire regarding whether they took part in sports and their level of leisure-time activity. A total of 210 women eventually had a preterm delivery.

The researchers found that women who trained in more than one type of sport had a significantly reduced risk of preterm delivery compared with women who did not take part in sports (odds ratio 0.09). Light leisure-time activity modestly reduced the risk of preterm delivery (OR, 0.76), while moderate-to-heavy leisure-time activity significantly reduced the risk of preterm delivery (OR, 0.34) compared with sedentary women.

"Moderate-to-heavy leisure time physical activity during pregnancy is associated with a significantly reduced risk of preterm delivery," Hegaard and colleagues conclude.

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