Examination of Physical Activity Mode and Intensity Among Pregnant Women of Different Activity Levels

Open Access
Author:
Sustakoski, Ashley Nicole
Area of Honors:
Kinesiology
Degree:
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Danielle Symons Downs, Thesis Supervisor
  • Stephen Jacob Piazza, Honors Advisor
Keywords:
  • pregnancy
  • exercise
  • physical activity
Abstract:
Introduction. The overall objective of this honors thesis was to thoroughly examine the time spent in non-exercise and exercise-related physical activity (PA) modes and intensities and changes in activity patterns among pregnant women during their second and third pregnancy trimesters according to pedometer-determined parameters. Methods. Pregnant women (N = 36) wore a Yamax Digiwalker SW-701 Pedometer and completed the Previous Day Physical Activity Recall, a self-reported PA questionnaire that assessed the time spent in both non-exercise (e.g., work, transportation, sleeping, bathing) and exercise-related (e.g., jogging, walking, swimming) activities and the perceived intensity (mild, moderate, or vigorous) of these activities at both 20- and 32-weeks gestation. Women were categorized into the following three activity groups based on their average daily step count measured over a 3-day period at 20- and 32-weeks gestation: active (7,500+ steps/day), low-active (>7,499 steps/day), and transitioned to low-active (7,500+ steps/day at 20-weeks gestation, >7,499 steps/day at 32-weeks gestation). It was hypothesized that active women would show little to no changes in non-exercise and exercise-related physical activity behaviors from 20- to 32-weeks gestation, while low-active women would decrease mild intensity non-exercise physical activity behaviors, and transitioned to low-active women would decrease in moderate and vigorous intensity non-exercise and exercise-related physical activity behaviors. It was also hypothesized that the active group would spend more time in moderate and vigorous non-exercise and exercise-related physical activity than the low-active group. Results. Consistent with the hypothesis, women in the active group showed no significant changes in non-exercise and exercise-related physical activity behaviors from 20- to 32-weeks gestation, while women in the low-active group at both time points engaged in significantly less mild non-exercise physical activity at 32-weeks. Women who were categorized as active at 20-weeks but low-active at 32-weeks showed a decline in moderate intensity non-exercise physical activity behaviors across this period, further supporting the hypothesis. Low-active women spent significantly less time in moderate and vigorous exercise-related physical activity, and vigorous intensity non-exercise physical activity than active women, providing partial support for the hypotheses. Conclusion. These findings suggest that women of various activity levels may differentially alter their physical activity behaviors during pregnancy. For example, low-active women may prefer to decrease their mild intensity non-exercise physical activity, while those women in the transitioned to low-active group decrease their levels of moderate and vigorous non-exercise and exercise-related physical activity. Further understanding of these differences is necessary to optimize intervention strategies to increase physical activity during pregnancy.