Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation

Spring 2011

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Department of Kinesiology


BACKGROUND: Changes in maternal insulin sensitivity throughout pregnancy may help supply nutrients to a growing fetus; however, the changes may concomitantly increase the mother and child’s risk for diabetes and chronic diseases. Regular physical activity (PA) positively impacts precursors for diabetes, but the impact of PA throughout gestation is less studied. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between meeting PA recommendations and diabetes risk in pregnant women. METHODS: A total of 23 pregnant women were recruited for participation. Venous blood samples, questionnaires, and anthropometric measurements (height, weight, and hip/waist circumferences) were ascertained during a single session. Participants also completed the MAQ physical activity recall questionnaire and wore a pedometer to record current PA. Daily step counts were recorded using a pedometer for two weeks following the blood draw. Women were classified as meeting American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) recommendations (>450 MET•min/week) and/or “active” (>5000 steps/day) based on their average steps/day. Blood samples were analyzed for levels of glucose (BGlu), glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c), total cholesterol (TCHOL), low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDLC), high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDLC) and triglycerides (TGs). Scatter plots were constructed for each biomarker versus gestational week to analyze differences in slopes and intercepts between two physical activity level groups. RESULTS: At the blood draw, 15 (65.2%) women were meeting ACOG physical activity recommendations and 7 (36.8%) met an “active” step count classification. Meeting activity recommendations was not significantly related to any biomarker after controlling for gestational age in univariate analysis, but an “active” daily step count approached significance in predicting HbA1c values (p=0.067). In scatter plot regression, there were significant differences in slopes for LDL (M0 – M1 = 7.357, p=0.032) and total cholesterol (M0 – M1 = 7.568, p=0.043) based on meeting or not meeting step count recommendations. Difference in intercepts from ACOG recommendations approached significance for HDL (-22.84, p=0.076). CONCLUSIONS: These results provide preliminary support that meeting or not meeting physical activity recommendations during pregnancy may be related to the progression of LDL, cholesterol, HDL, and HbA1c biomarkers for diabetes risk factors throughout gestation.

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