OBJECTIVE: After mild and severe preeclampsia, to assess whether women meet the physical activity recommendation at 3 and 6months postpartum, and whether demographic, obstetric and anthropometric characteristics, mental health, and health-related quality of life are associated with less physical activity than recommended.
STUDY DESIGN: Prospective cohort study.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Self-reported physical activity in MET-min/week, percentage of women who fail to meet the physical activity recommendation.
METHODS: Of the 255 women diagnosed with preeclampsia invited to participate in this prospective cohort study, 174 (68%) provided informed consent. Analyses were restricted to 141 participants who completed the short form of the International Physical Activity Questionnaire at 3 and/or 6months postpartum. Logistic regression analysis was used to evaluate changes in physical activity level over time, and to establish which variables were associated with failure to meet the postpartum physical activity recommendation.
RESULTS: At both 3 and 6months postpartum, 38% of women failed to meet the physical activity recommendation. Failure was associated with severe preeclampsia, cesarean section, admission to the neonatal intensive care unit, low gestational age at delivery, and low birth weight (all p<0.05).
CONCLUSIONS: There seems to be a need to stimulate physical activity in about one third of women after a pregnancy complicated by preeclampsia, particularly in case of severe preeclampsia and other adverse pregnancy outcomes. Tailored lifestyle interventions are needed for women who fail to meet the recommendation.