Effects of physical activity on preterm birth

Dawn P. Misra, Donna M. Strobino, Elaine E. Stashinko, David A. Nagey, Joy Nanda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Scopus citations


The authors conducted a cohort study of low income women to determine the effect of physical activity on the risk of preterm birth. Women were sampled prenatally from four clinic sites and were scheduled for delivery at the University of Maryland Medical Systems (UMMS). Women who delivered Infants at UMMS but who had received no prenatal care were also eligible. Preterm delivery was defined as a delivery prior to 37 completed weeks gestation. After adjusting for confounders, the odds of preterm delivery were increased for women who climbed stairs ≤10 times per day (odds ratio (OR) = 1.60, 95% confidence interval 1.05-2.46) and for women who engaged in purposive walking ≤4 days per week (OR = 2.10, 95% Cl 1.38-3.20). Leisure- time exercise (≤60 days in the first and second trimesters combined) had a protective effect on preterm delivery (OR = 0.51, 95% Cl 0.27-0.95). Television viewing had a U-shaped relation with preterm delivery (ORs (95% Cl): <15 hours, 2.09 (1.21-3.61); 29-42 hours, 1.50 (0.84-2.67); >42 hours, 3.05 (1.75-5.40)). While the results support current recommendations regarding leisure-time activities, activities of daily living appear to increase risk of preterm delivery among low income women. These findings and those for television watching warrant further investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)628-635
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican journal of epidemiology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 1 1998


  • Infant, premature
  • Physical activity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology


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