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Perceived Barriers to Physical Activity among Pregnant Women

Citation

Evenson, Kelly R.; Moos, Merry-K.; Carrier, Kathryn S.; & Siega-Riz, Anna Maria (2009). Perceived Barriers to Physical Activity among Pregnant Women. Maternal and Child Health Journal, 13(3), 364-375. PMCID: PMC2657195

Abstract

Objective: Physical activity generally declines during pregnancy, but barriers to activity during this time period are not well understood. The objective was to examine barriers to physical activity in a large cohort of pregnant women and to explore these barriers in more depth with qualitative data derived from a separate focus group study using a socioecologic framework.
Method: A total of 1535 pregnant women (27-30 weeks' gestation) enrolled in the Pregnancy, Infection, and Nutrition Study were asked an open-ended question about their primary barrier to physical activity; responses were coded into categories according to the socioecologic framework. To further elucidate, 13 focus groups of a total of 58 pregnant women (20-37 weeks' gestation) were conducted among Hispanic, African American, and White participants.
Results: Among the 1535 pregnant women participating in the survey, 85% reported an intrapersonal barrier to physical activity, of which almost two-thirds were health related. Only 2% of the women reported their main barrier to physical activity as interpersonal and 3% reported a neighborhood or environmental barrier. These results were supported by the focus group data, overall and by race/ethnicity and body mass index. Although women discussed barriers to physical activity at a variety of levels, the intrapersonal level was the most frequently cited and discussed factor in both studies.
Conclusions: Since pregnancy may trigger the development of obesity and since physical activity is recommended for healthy pregnant women, it is imperative to promote physical activity in a more relevant way. These quantitative and qualitative studies revealed many barriers to physical activity among pregnant women and some suggestions for interventions.

URL

http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10995-008-0359-8

Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published

2009

Journal Title

Maternal and Child Health Journal

Author(s)

Evenson, Kelly R.
Moos, Merry-K.
Carrier, Kathryn S.
Siega-Riz, Anna Maria

PMCID

PMC2657195