Physical activity, sedentary behavior and development of preeclampsia in women with preexisting diabetes

Nicoline Callesen Do, Marianne Vestgaard, Björg Ásbjörnsdóttir, Vibeke Ladefoged Nichum, Lene Ringholm, Lise Lotte Torvin Andersen, Dorte Møller Jensen, Peter Damm, Elisabeth Reinhardt Mathiesen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


AIMS: To explore the association between physical activity in early pregnancy and development of preeclampsia in women with preexisting diabetes.

METHODS: In a prospective cohort study of 189 women with preexisting diabetes (110 type 1 and 79 type 2 diabetes), physical activity during pregnancy including sedentary behavior was evaluated with the Pregnancy Physical Activity Questionnaire. Primary outcome was preeclampsia. Secondary outcomes were preterm delivery, large and small for gestational age infants.

RESULTS: Women developing preeclampsia (n = 23) had higher diastolic blood pressure in early pregnancy (mean 82 ± 9 SD vs. 77 ± 8, p = 0.004) and were more often nulliparous (91 vs. 52%, p < 0.001) compared with the remaining women (n = 166). Total physical activity in early pregnancy was similar between the groups (median 148 metabolic equivalent of task hours per week (MET-h/week) (interquartile range 118-227) versus 153 (121-205), p = 0.97). In early pregnancy, women developing preeclampsia reported a higher level of sedentary behavior (15 MET-h/week (7-18) versus 7 (4-15); p = 0.04); however, when adjusting for parity, diastolic blood pressure and smoking, the association attenuated (p = 0.13). Total physical activity and sedentary behavior in early pregnancy were not associated with preterm delivery, large or small for gestational age infants.

CONCLUSIONS: Among women with diabetes, sedentary behavior was reported higher in early pregnancy in women developing preeclampsia compared with the remaining women, while total physical activity was similar. Sedentary behavior was a predictor of preeclampsia in the univariate analysis, but not in the multiple regression analysis, and larger studies are needed to evaluate this possible modifiable risk factor. Trial registration The study was registered at (ID: NCT02890836).

Original languageEnglish
JournalActa Diabetologica
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)559-567
Publication statusPublished - May 2020


  • Diabetes
  • Physical activity
  • Preeclampsia
  • Pregnancy
  • Risk factor
  • Sedentary behavior


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