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Physical activity pattern and activity energy expenditure in healthy pregnant and non-pregnant Swedish women

Abstract

Background/Objectives:

Energy costs of pregnancy approximate 320 MJ in well-nourished women, but whether or not these costs may be partly covered by modifications in activity behavior is incompletely known. In healthy Swedish women: (1) to evaluate the potential of the Intelligent Device for Energy Expenditure and Physical Activity (IDEEA) to assess energy expenditure during free-living conditions, (2) to assess activity pattern, walking pace and energy metabolism in pregnant women and non-pregnant controls, and (3) to assess the effect on energy expenditure caused by changes in physical activity induced by pregnancy.

Subjects/Methods:

Activity pattern was assessed using the IDEEA in 18 women in gestational week 32 and in 21 non-pregnant women. Activity energy expenditure (AEE) was assessed using IDEEA, as well as using the doubly labelled water method and indirect calorimetry.

Results:

AEE using the IDEEA was correlated with reference estimates in both groups (r=0.4–0.5; P<0.05). Reference AEE was 0.9 MJ/24 h lower in pregnant than in non-pregnant women. Pregnant women spent 92 min/24 h more on sitting, lying, reclining and sleeping (P=0.020), 73 min/24 h less on standing (P=0.037) and 21 min/24 h less on walking and using stairs (P=0.049), and walked at a slower pace (1.1±0.1 m/s versus 1.2±0.1 m/s; P=0.014) than did non-pregnant controls. The selection of less demanding activities and slower walking pace decreased energy costs by 720 kJ/24 h and 80 kJ/24 h, respectively.

Conclusion:

Healthy moderately active Swedish women compensated for the increased energy costs of pregnancy by 0.9 MJ/24 h. The compensation was mainly achieved by selecting less demanding activities.

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Acknowledgements

This study was supported by FORMAS, the Magnus Bergvall Foundation, the Thuring Foundation and the Swedish Society of Medicine.

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Correspondence to M Löf.

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Löf, M. Physical activity pattern and activity energy expenditure in healthy pregnant and non-pregnant Swedish women. Eur J Clin Nutr 65, 1295–1301 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1038/ejcn.2011.129

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/ejcn.2011.129

Keywords

  • activity energy expenditure
  • activity pattern
  • IDEEA
  • pregnancy
  • walking pace

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