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Do changing levels of maternal exercise during pregnancy affect neonatal adiposity? Secondary analysis of the babies after SCOPE: evaluating the longitudinal impact using neurological and nutritional endpoints (BASELINE) birth cohort (Cork, Ireland)

01 Dec 2017

Objective

To investigate whether changing levels of exercise during pregnancy are related to altered neonatal adiposity.

Design

Secondary analysis of data from a prospective cohort study.

Setting

Cork, Ireland.

Participants

1200 motherinfant pairs recruited as part of a prospective birth cohort, Babies After SCOPE: Evaluating the Longitudinal Impact Using Neurological and Nutritional Endpoints (BASELINE).

Main outcome measures

Neonatal adiposity was assessed within several days of birth using air displacement plethysmography (PEAPOD). Per cent body fat (BF%) as a continuous outcome and a pair of dichotomous variables; high or low adiposity, representing BF% >90th or <10th centile, respectively. Multivariable linear and logistic regression models were used to investigate the relationship between exercise and the respective outcomes.

Results

Crude analysis revealed no association between a changing level of exercise (since becoming pregnant) at 15 weeks’ gestation and any of the outcomes (BF%, low adiposity and high adiposity). At 20 weeks’ gestation, analyses revealed that relative to women who do not change their exercise level up to 20 weeks, those women who decreased their exercise level were more likely to give birth to a neonate with adiposity above the 90th centile (OR 1.62, 95% CI 1.07 to 2.46). This association was maintained after adjustment for putative confounders (OR 1.62, 95% CI 1.06 to 2.47).

Conclusions

We observed a possible critical period for the association between changing exercise levels and neonatal adiposity, with no association observed with exercise recall for the first 15 weeks of gestation, but an association with a decreasing level of exercise between 15 and 20 weeks. These results should be interpreted in line with the limitations of the study and further studies utilising objectively measured estimates of exercise are required in order to replicate these findings.

Trial registration number

NCT01498965.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in BMJ Open

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