A Will Without a Way: Barriers and Facilitators to Exercise During Pregnancy of Low-Income, African American Women

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.
Women & Health (Impact Factor: 1.05). 11/2011; 51(8):777-94. DOI: 10.1080/03630242.2011.633598
Source: PubMed


The objective of the authors in this study was to identify pregnant, low-income African American women's barriers and facilitators to exercise during pregnancy. A series of six focus groups with pregnant African American women were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. Focus group transcripts were qualitatively analyzed for major themes and independently coded for barriers and facilitators to exercise during pregnancy. A total of 34 pregnant, African American women participated in six focus groups from June through October of 2007. The majority of women were single (94%), had only a high school education (67%), received Medicaid (100%) and had a mean body mass index of 33 kg/m(2). All participants believed that exercise was beneficial during their pregnancy. However, participants faced multiple barriers including: (1) individual, (2) information, (3) resource, and (4) socio-cultural. African American women also described two facilitators to increase exercise during pregnancy: (1) group exercise classes, and (2) increasing the number of safe, low-cost exercise facilities in their communities. African American women living in low socioeconomic communities face several barriers to exercise during pregnancy. Targeted interventions to overcome barriers and facilitate exercise for this patient population should focus on increasing education from providers regarding the type and frequency of exercise recommended during pregnancy, enhancing social support networks with group exercise programs, and providing affordable and convenient locations to exercise.

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