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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    • "Increasing the level of physical activity is an integral component of many lifestyle interventions. In both developed and developing countries, women tend to engage in less physical activity during pregnancy, with levels of exercise decreasing with gestation (Dufour et al., 2002; Evenson et al., 2004) The reasons for this change are complex and include the physiological changes of pregnancy, practicalities associated with certain contact sports and concerns about pregnancy complications, fetal harm, tiredness and lack of motivation (Gaston and Cramp, 2011; Seneviratne et al., 2014). Studies demonstrate that this gestational reduction in physical activity is more marked in overweight and obese (Class I and II) compared to normal weight women, with poor self-image being cited as a further barrier (Seneviratne et al., 2014). "
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: to explore the barriers and facilitators to physical activity and lifestyle interventions in pregnant women with Class III obesity (body mass index >40kg/m(2)). Design: qualitative study using in-depth, semi-structure interviews framed by the Theory of Planned Behaviour. Semi-structured, in-depth interviews were conducted using a topic guide. Data analysis was undertaken using a Framework Approach and was informed by the theory of planned behaviour. Recruitment and analysis continued until data saturation was reached. Setting: participants were recruited from an antenatal clinic for women with Class III obesity. Participants: pregnant women (n=13) with Class III obesity. MEASUREMENTS AND OUTCOMES: three major themes emerged from the data analysis: having a healthy lifestyle awareness, complex barriers to lifestyle changes and having personalised solutions to promote healthy lifestyle. Women were aware of the benefits of physical activity during pregnancy but had complex barriers to engaging with activity. Conclusions and implications for practice: future lifestyle interventions for women with Class III in pregnancy should take into account individual, societal and support barriers towards weight management and lifestyle choices in pregnancy. Programs that provide personalised support which are sensitive to the specific physical and psychological needs of women with Class III obesity which focus on the benefits and safety of physical activity for both mother and baby may be more likely to be successful. Further research is needed to explore the feasibility and acceptability of tailored programs.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2015 · Midwifery
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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.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2014 · Journal of Sports Sciences
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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.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2013 · Journal of pregnancy
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