Exercise during pregnancy: A review of patterns and determinants

School of Kinesiology, The University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada N6A 3K7.
Journal of science and medicine in sport / Sports Medicine Australia 03/2011; 14(4):299-305. DOI: 10.1016/j.jsams.2011.02.006
Source: PubMed


The mental and physical health benefits of exercise during pregnancy highlight the importance of understanding the determinants of pregnant women's physical activity. This paper presents a review of the existing research on pregnancy and physical activity, in order to (a) summarize the existing body of literature since 1986 examining changes in physical activity during pregnancy, (b) summarize correlates and predictors of physical activity during pregnancy, and (c) present directions for future research. A literature search yielded 25 articles published from 1986 to 2009 in English peer-reviewed journals. The major findings were categorized into the following: (a) exercise patterns, (b) demographic correlates/predictors, (c) the influence of pre-pregnancy exercise on pregnancy exercise, (d) theory-based predictors and (f) other correlates of exercise (e.g. general health and safety concerns). Results indicated that pregnant women are less active than non-pregnant women and that pregnancy leads to a decrease in physical activity. Consistent demographic predictors of higher exercise participation during pregnancy include higher education and income, not having other children in the home, being white, and being more active prior to becoming pregnancy. Only a few studies used theoretical models to understand physical activity during pregnancy with varied results. The review outlines demographic and theory-based correlates/predictors that should be taken into consideration when developing interventions to increase physical activity among pregnant women.

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Article: Exercise during pregnancy: A review of patterns and determinants

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    • "Thus , previous studies show that there is greater adherence to PA during the first trimester and a tendency for PA to decrease during pregnancy gen - erally ( Borodulin et al . , 2008 ; Fell , Joseph , Armson , & Dodds , 2009 ; Gaston & Cramp , 2011 ; Poudevigne & O ' Connor , 2006 ; Rousham , Clarke , & Gross , 2006 ) . Lack of adherence to PA recom - mendations is mainly due to unawareness ( Gouveia et al . "
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    ABSTRACT: Abstract The aims of the this prospective study were to analyse physical activity (PA) engagement during the first and second trimesters, considering the different guidelines published on PA, to document the individual characteristics associated with the accomplishment of these guidelines and to examine pregnant women's perceived barriers to leisure PA, using a socioecological framework. A sample of 133 pregnant women in two stages - at 10-12 weeks' gestation (T1) and 20-22 weeks' gestation (T2) - were evaluated. PA was assessed by accelerometry during the T1 and T2 evaluation stages. Socio-demographic characteristics, lifestyle factors and barriers to leisure PA were assessed via questionnaire. A large proportion of women (ranging from 32% to 96%) did not reach the levels of PA recommended by the guidelines. There were no significant differences between T1 and T2 with regard to compliance with PA recommendations. A decrease in PA levels from T1 to T2 was noted for all recommendations. No associations were found between participants' characteristics and adherence to the recommendations in T1 and T2. No significant differences were found in barriers to leisure PA between T1 and T2. The most commonly reported barriers to leisure PA were intrapersonal, not health related. Our results indicate that there were no differences between trimesters regarding compliance of PA recommendations, and perceived barriers were similar in both trimesters.
    Journal of Sports Sciences 04/2014; 32(14). DOI:10.1080/02640414.2014.893369 · 2.25 Impact Factor
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    • "According to the review of Gaston and Cramp [38], being nulliparous has been a consistent predictor of regular exercise . In this study, more than 60% of the women categorized in the currently PA group (stages 4-5) were nulliparous. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background: The transtheoretical model (TTM) has been successful in promoting health behavioral change in the general population. However, there is a scant knowledge about physical activity in relation to the TTM during pregnancy. Hence, the aims of the present study were (1) to assess readiness to become or stay physically active according to the TTM and (2) to compare background and health variables across the TTM. Methods: Healthy pregnant women (n = 467) were allocated to the study from Oslo University Hospital, Norway. The participants filled in a validated self-administered questionnaire, physical activity pregnancy questionnaire (PAPQ) in gestation, weeks 32-36. The questionnaire contained 53 questions with one particular question addressing the TTM and the five stages: (1) precontemplation stage, (2) contemplation stage, (3) preparation stage, (4) action stage, and (5) maintenance stage. Results: More than half of the participants (53%) were involved in regular exercise (stages 4-5); however, only six specified that they had recently started an exercise program (stage 4). About 33% reported engaging in some physical activity, but not regularly (stage 3). The results showed that receiving advice from health professionals to exercise during pregnancy increased the likeliness of being in stages 4-5, while higher age, multiparity, pregravid overweight, unhealthy eating habits, pelvic girdle pain, and urinary incontinence were more prevalent with low readiness to change exercise habits (stages 1-3). Conclusion: According to the TTM, more than half of the participants reported to be physically active. Moreover, most of the participants classified as inactive showed a high motivational readiness or intention to increase their physical activity level. Hence, pregnancy may be a window of opportunity for the establishment of long-term physical activity habits.
    Journal of pregnancy 02/2013; 2013(2):193170. DOI:10.1155/2013/193170
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    ABSTRACT: This study compared perceived benefits and barriers to leisure-time physical activity during pregnancy among women who were insufficiently active or inactive before pregnancy. Eighty-two pregnant women completed questionnaires assessing leisure-time physical activity benefits/barriers, exercise self-efficacy, social support, depressed mood, pre-pregnancy and current physical activity and fatigue. Multivariable regression analyses identified factors associated with exercise benefits/barriers for the two pre-pregnancy leisure-time physical activity groups. Both pre-pregnancy leisure-time physical activity groups reported more benefits than barriers to exercise during pregnancy. Previously inactive women reported fewer perceived benefits and greater perceived barriers to leisure-time physical activity during pregnancy. Higher self-efficacy for exercise during pregnancy was significantly associated with greater benefits of leisure-time physical activity during pregnancy for both groups. Less family support for exercise and lower self-efficacy for exercise were significantly related to greater leisure-time physical activity barriers during pregnancy for previously inactive women. Lower self-efficacy for exercise, higher depressed mood scores, and younger age were associated with greater leisure-time physical activity barriers for active women. Findings suggest that the intensities of perceived leisure-time physical activity benefits and barriers during pregnancy differ for women, depending on their pre-pregnancy leisure-time physical activity status. Consideration of pre-pregnancy leisure-time physical activity status may thus be important when tailoring strategies to overcome barriers to promote initiation and maintenance of physical activity during pregnancy.
    Women & Health 02/2013; 53(2):185-202. DOI:10.1080/03630242.2012.758219 · 1.05 Impact Factor
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