FitMum, pregnant woman running

FitMum: Fitness for good health of mother and child

There is a gap in evidence and practice towards tackling the significant public health issue of being physically inactive during pregnancy, and the vision of the FitMum project is to increase physical activity among Danish pregnant women. FitMum is designed as a three-armed randomized controlled trial and will use a wearable activity device as primary measurement tool to evaluate the effects of two very different approaches to exercise during pregnancy. The project will generate evidence about how to implement physical activity in pregnant women’s everyday life.


Increasing evidence suggests that lifestyle during pregnancy may influence the future health of the child (Adamo, Ferraro and Brett, 2012; Barrès and Zierath, 2016). A physically active lifestyle during pregnancy shows potential to improve long-term metabolic health of the child (Committee on Obstetric Practice, 2015; Harris, Baer and Stanford, 2018) and thus may play an important role in counteracting the escalating obesity epidemic and the increasing incidence of metabolic diseases (Adamo, Ferraro and Brett, 2012; World Health Organisation (WHO), 2016).
However, less than four out of ten Danish pregnant women succeed to achieve 30 minutes of daily physical activity at moderate intensity (Broberg et al., 2015) as recommended by the Danish Health Authorities (The Danish Health Authorities, 2014). A key gap in evidence and practice towards increasing physical activity during pregnancy is lack of knowledge about how physical activity can be implemented. Only very few and scattered regional or municipal physical activity initiatives are currently targeting Danish pregnant women and the initiatives mainly target overweight women (, 2018). Implementing and validating means to empower pregnant women to be physically active have the potential to establish the norm of being physically active during pregnancy and might halt the negative spiral effect of physical inactivity, obesity and metabolic diseases that escalates globally.


The primary objective of FitMum is to evaluate the effects of structured supervised exercise training and motivational counseling supported by health technology on physical activity level during pregnancy.

Secondary objectives are

  • to investigate the effects of the FitMum exercise programs on complimentary measures of physical activity
  • to qualitatively explore personal understandings of physical activity in everyday life of pregnant women
  • to explore the way in which the FitMum exercise programs are carried out and adapted
  • to evaluate the effects of physical activity on clinical and metabolic health parameters in mother and child

FitMum is carried out in collaboration between University of Copenhagen, Nordsjælland’s Hospital, Technical University of Denmark, Aarhus University and international researchers.


  • Adamo, K. B., Ferraro, Z. M. and Brett, K. E. (2012) ‘Can we modify the intrauterine environment to halt the intergenerational cycle of obesity?’, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 9(4), pp. 1263–1307. doi: 10.3390/ijerph9041263.
  • Barrès, R. and Zierath, J. R. (2016) ‘The role of diet and exercise in the transgenerational epigenetic landscape of T2DM.’, Nature reviews. Endocrinology. Nature Publishing Group, 12(8), pp. 441–51. doi: 10.1038/nrendo.2016.87.
  • Broberg, L. et al. (2015) ‘Compliance with national recommendations for exercise during early pregnancy in a Danish cohort.’, BMC pregnancy and childbirth, 15, p. 317. doi: 10.1186/s12884-015-0756-0.
  • Committee on Obstetric Practice (2015) ‘Committee Opinion: Physical Activity and Exercise During Pregnancy and the Postpartum Period’, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 650, pp. 1–8.
  • Harris, J. E., Baer, L. A. and Stanford, K. I. (2018) ‘Maternal Exercise Improves the Metabolic Health of Adult Offspring’, Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism, pp. 1–14. doi: 10.1016/j.tem.2018.01.003.
  • (2018). Available here.
  • The Danish Health Authorities (2014) Recommendations for pregnant women. Available here.
  • World Health Organisation (WHO) (2016) ‘Physical activity strategy for the WHO European Region 2016-2025’.
19 JANUARY 2019