Association of Physical activity during third trimester pregnancy and birth weight at term in Butajira, SNNPR, Ethiopia, 2017

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Background: Low birth weight is an important public health issue in both developed and developing countries accounting for nearly 80% of neonatal deaths globally. It is the main factor influencing child survival and occurrence of chronic diseases in adult life. In Ethiopia only 5% of babies are weighed at birth and prevalence of low birth weight varies from 10-28%.Women from poor communities often engage in heavy physical activities which continue to late pregnancy. Objective: To assess maternal physical activity level during third trimester and its association with birth weight of newborns at term in Butajira, SNNPR, Ethiopia. Methods: A community based cohort study was employed on 247 pregnant mothers during third trimester. The mothers were selected using simple random sampling technique using list obtained from each kebele’s survey. Structured questionnaire containing list of activities in vigorous and moderate categories and pattern of selected activities was used to assess physical activity level. Anthropometric measure of the mothers was done and pre-pregnancy weight and gestational weight gain was reported by the mothers. Birth weight was measured within 72 hours of delivery. Data was entered using Epi-Data 3.1 and all statistical tests were done using STATA version 14 software. Results: Out of 247 cohort of third trimester mothers, 235 were included in the final analysis among which 124(52.77%) and 111 (47.23%) of the mothers did moderate and vigorous physical activities during third trimester respectively. Low birth weight was 21.62% and 9.68% among newborns of mothers with vigorous and moderate physical activity levels respectively. After adjustment for important determinants of birth weight, doing vigorous physical activity [AOR=2.48:95% CI= (1.01-6.09], Prolonged standing [AOR=3.37:95% CI (1.14-9.93)] and squatting [AOR=2.61:95% CI (1.04-6.54)] during third trimester had significantly negative association birth weight at term. Conclusion and Recommendation: In this study over half of mothers did moderate physical activity and nearly half of mothers did vigorous intensity physical activities during third trimester. Proportion of low birth weight at term was high among mothers who did vigorous physical activity compared to mothers with moderate physical activity. Doing vigorous intensity physical activity, physical activities done by standing for longer hours and squatting position during third trimester had significantly negative association with birth weight at term. In order to improve child birth weight, pregnant women need to be counseled to reduce vigorous intensity physical activity, standing and squatting during third trimester.



Physical activity,pregnancy,birth weight