Longitudinal Trends for Pregnancy Physical Activity as Assessed Through Objective and Self-Report Methods


Previous investigations have suggested an overall decrease in physical activity (PA) as pregnancy progresses. Longitudinal investigations of these trends are scarce and have primarily utilized self-report assessments, rather than objective methods. PURPOSE: To 1) longitudinally examine month-specific trends in PA during pregnancy and to 2) compare self-report and objective methods of assessing month-specific PA. METHODS: Pregnant women (N=23) were recruited to participate in a longitudinal investigation examining anthropometric change, dynamic balance, and PA levels throughout gestation. The assessment of PA occurred each month of pregnancy via two methods: 1) wearing a validated pedometer for seven days and 2) taking an online survey. Following each monthly visit to our laboratory for testing, participants were provided with the pedometer and wearing instructions. Pedometer data included number of steps and amount of time (minutes) each participant was active each day. For analytic purposes, data for a minimum of three week days and one weekend day (converted to steps/day) was used to represent participant activity each month. The monthly online survey queried participants on typical moderate and vigorous-intensity physical activity (MVPA) per day (converted to minutes/week). Month-to-month contrasts and trend analyses were conducted for both pedometer steps/day and minutes/week of MVPA. RESULTS: Participants had a mean age 28.7 years at recruitment, with 55.2% being first-time mothers. Mean pedometer-recorded steps/day during pregnancy was 5,491 ± 2,086 and mean self-reported minutes/week of MVPA was 106.8 ± 150.6. Mean steps/day significantly differed month-to-month as pregnancy progressed (F(7, 56)=4.79, p<0.001), with a reduced overall trend. Specifically, steps/day recorded for pregnancy months five and eight were significantly lower (p<0.05) than month four. Our findings reveal a reduced overall trend for MVPA minutes/week as pregnancy progressed, but no significant differences were found month-to-month (F(7, 56)=1.37, p=0.236). CONCLUSION: Pregnant women become less active in the later months of pregnancy according to both objective and self-report methods. Clear variability exists between objective and self-reported PA among pregnant women.

Supported by WSU New Faculty Seed Grant Program and WSU College of Education Faculty Funding Award

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