Other Subject Area

Wearable Technology


International Journal of Exercise Science 14(7): 382-399, 2021. Only 15% of women meet physical activity guidelines during and after pregnancy despite the well-established positive impacts on both the mother and the neonate. There is a clear lack of guidance on this topic, and mobile health interventions are a promising direction for future interventions to facilitate a necessary increase in physical activity during pregnancy and postpartum. The purpose of the study was to objectively assess the quality and perceived impact of existing free mobile apps that are designed to cover physical activity during and after pregnancy. The Mobile Application Rating Scale (MARS) was used by two independent reviewers to determine overall quality of mobile apps freely available in the U.S. iTunes store. The initial search for pregnancy and postpartum physical activity apps yielded 732 results. After careful screening, 567 apps were excluded, leaving 165 that went under further screening procedures. Upon further screening, 54 apps were downloaded and scored using the MARS system. Of the 54 apps included in the analyses, 20 apps contained physical activity information for pregnant women (37.0%), 11 apps contained information for postpartum women (20.4%), and 23 apps contained information pertaining to both pregnant and postpartum women (42.6%). Of note, 33 (61.1%) of the apps required hidden costs in the form of in-app purchases. The mean overall MARS score was 3.06 ± 0.94 out of 5 (1-inadequate and 5-excellent). Overall, the quality of existing apps appears low, and none of the existing apps had specific goal setting based on current recommendations for pregnant women. Due to low quality and perceived impact, existing mobile apps are insufficient to enable women to achieve recommended levels of physical activity during pregnancy and postpartum.