Physical activity during pregnancy has numerous benefits, but the influence on the duration of labor is unclear. We investigated the influence of habitual physical activity during late pregnancy on the duration of labor, with consideration of previous delivery experience and the stage of labor.
This prospective study included 103 women (48 nulliparous, 55 multiparous) in late pregnancy. Habitual physical activity was evaluated using the Baecke physical activity questionnaire (BQ). Women were divided into a high activity group (HA) and a low activity group (LA) based on their median total BQ score. Data pertaining to the duration of labor were obtained from the birth records after delivery.
In multiparous women, the duration of the second stage of labor was significantly shorter in the HA group than in the LA group [median (range): HA, 11 min (1–102 min); LA, 20 min (4–175 min); P < .05]. The significant difference persisted after adjusting for confounding variables (standardized β = –0.34; P = .01). In nulliparous women, there were no significant differences in duration of labor between groups.
Higher physical activity in multiparous women during late pregnancy might positively influence the duration of the second stage of labor.