Other Subject Area

Public Health


International Journal of Exercise Science 14(3): 1138-1150, 2021. Prenatal physical activity (PA) may mitigate adverse outcomes that have increased as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, including poor maternal mental health. This study explored the perspectives of prenatal healthcare providers (PHCP) on maternal PA during the pandemic and identified resources providers would like to have to inform clinical discussions and prescription of PA. Semi-structured interviews were completed with PHCPs following a qualitative description approach. A content analysis coded data to inform three study objectives: 1. Changes to maternal health, 2. The role prenatal PA can have during a pandemic, 3. Resources PHCPs would find helpful to discuss and prescribe PA. Nine PHCPs completed interviews. Changes to maternal health include an increase in stress, fear surrounding labor and delivery, and risk of pre-existing problematic behaviors (e.g., substance abuse). PA was identified as helpful for improving mental health and preventing excessive gestational weight gain (EGWG). Providers expressed interest in having low cost referral options for prenatal PA that are accessible from home. PHCPs suggest PA during the pandemic can improve maternal mental health and prevent EGWG. To support clinical discussions and prescriptions of prenatal PA, knowledge translation initiatives should include informing PHCPs of referral resources for low cost at-home fitness options.