Perceived benefits and barriers to leisure-time physical activity during pregnancy in previously inactive and active women

Deborah Da Costa, Kierla Ireland
Women & Health 2013, 53 (2): 185-202
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.

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