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Vol. 23. Issue 2.
Pages 77-186 (01 March 2019)
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Vol. 23. Issue 2.
Pages 77-186 (01 March 2019)
Original Research
DOI: 10.1016/j.bjpt.2018.06.006
Is there any association between abdominal strength training before and during pregnancy and delivery outcome? The Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study
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Eirin Risea,
Corresponding author
enygaardr@gmail.com

Corresponding author. Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, Department of sports Medicine. Pb 4014, Ullevål stadion, 0806 Oslo, Norway.
, Kari Bøa,c, Wenche Nystadb
a Department of Sport Medicine, Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, Oslo, Norway
b Department of Chronic Diseases, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Oslo, Norway
c Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Akershus University Hospital, Lørenskog, Norway
Highlights

  • Pregnant women are encouraged to train the abdominal muscles to enhance normal birth.

  • The results showed a decline in abdominal training during pregnancy.

  • No associations were found between abdominal training and birth outcomes.

  • The results question that abdominal training during pregnancy affect delivery.

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Tables (5)
Table 1. Demographic characteristics of the study participants (n=36124). Data presented as means with standard deviation (SD) or frequency (n) and percentages (%).
Table 2. Participation in general physical activity of the study participants (n=36124). Data presented as frequency (n) and percentages (%).
Table 3. Frequency of abdominal strength training during three different time points: 3 months pre-pregnancy, gestational week 17 and 30 (n=36124). Data presented as numbers of women (n) and percentages (%).
Table 4. Logistic regressions for abdominal strength training 3 months pre-pregnancy and acute cesarean section (n=30178), instrumental assisted vaginal delivery (n=30178), and third- and fourth-degree perineal tear (n=26998) for the women in MoBa. Data presented as cOR and aOR with 95% CI.
Table 5. Logistic regressions for abdominal strength training before and during pregnancy (3 months pre-pregnancy, gestational weeks 17 and 30) and acute cesarean section (n=29034), instrumental assisted vaginal delivery (n=29034), and third- and fourth-degree perineal tear (n=25992) for the women in MoBa. Data presented as cOR and aOR with 95% CI.
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Abstract
Background

Abdominal strength training before and during pregnancy has been recommended to enhance normal vaginal birth by enabling increased force needed for active pushing. However, to date there is little research addressing this hypothesis.

Objective

To investigate whether nulliparous pregnant women reporting regular abdominal strength training prior to and at two time points during pregnancy have reduced risk of cesarean section, instrumental assisted vaginal delivery and third- and fourth-degree perineal tears.

Methods

Analysis of 36124 nulliparous pregnant women participating in the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study during the period 1999–2009 who responded to questions regards the main exposure; regular abdominal strength training. Data on delivery outcomes were retrieved from the Medical Birth Registry of Norway. Logistic regression analyses were used to evaluate the association between exposure and outcome before pregnancy and at gestational weeks 17 and 30.

Results

Amongst participants, 66.9% reported doing abdominal strength training exercises before pregnancy, declining to 31.2% at gestational week 30. The adjusted odds ratios were 0.97 (95% CI 0.79–1.19) for acute cesarean section, among those training with the same frequency before and during pregnancy compared to those that never trained. The results were similar for instrumental assisted vaginal delivery and third- and fourth-degree perineal tear.

Conclusion

There was no association between the report of regular abdominal strength training before and during pregnancy and delivery outcomes in this prospective population-based cohort.

Keywords:
Abdominals
Gestation
Physical activity
Exercise
Pre-natal
Post-natal

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