Background Sickness absence in pregnancy accounts for a large part of sickness-related absenteeism among women. Exercise in pregnancy is associated with a lower level of sickness absence, however little is known about how sedentary behaviour is related to sickness absence in pregnancy. In the current study, we hypothesize a positive association between sedentary hours/day and the risk of long-term sickness absence. Methods Population-based cohort study of pregnant women attending three Child Health Clinics in Groruddalen, Oslo, 823 Women (74% of those eligible) were included between 2008 and 2010. Questionnaire data were collected at gestational weeks 10–20 (visit 1) and 28 (visit 2). Sedentary time and physical activity were objectively recorded at visit 1 with the multi-sensor SenseWear™ Pro3 Armband (SWA). Long-term sickness absence was self-reported at visit 2. We explored the association between sedentary time and long-term sickness absence in pregnancy using multiple logistic regression analysis. Results The odds of long-term sickness absence was significantly increased per one-hour increase in daily sedentary time (odds ratio 1.45 [95% confidence interval 1.13–1.84]), providing support for our hypothesis that sedentary time is positively associated with long-term sickness absence. Conclusions Pregnant women with a sedentary lifestyle have a higher risk of long-term sickness absence from work. Reducing sedentary time in pregnancy may improve health, and may, in turn reduce sickness absence in pregnancy.
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