Article Title



E. Weible1, K. Whitaker2, J. West3, M. Soutenberg4, A.Cruz1, C. Connolly1

1Washington State University, Pullman, WA; 2University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA; 3Cabarrus Health Alliance, Kannapolis, NC; 4University of Tennessee Chattanooga, Chattanooga, TN

Physical activity (PA) is beneficial to the health of both pregnant mother and unborn child, particularly when current PA guidelines are met (e.g., 150 min/week of moderate-intensity PA). The impact of PA prescriptions given by prenatal physicians, following the Exercise is Medicine® program, is currently unclear. PURPOSE: This study examined the relationship between healthcare provider PA prescriptions given at two prenatal healthcare visits and subsequent PA behavior of pregnant women. METHODS: Prenatal healthcare providers in Cabarrus County, North Carolina assessed physical activity days/week and minutes/day among all prenatal patients (N=965) at two prenatal visits (V1: 20 weeks gestation;V2: 28 weeks gestation). Minutes/week of physical activity were calculated, and providers were trained to provide physical activity prescriptions if the patient was not meeting current guidelines. Wilcoxon-Mann-Whitney tests were used to determine the association between healthcare provider PA prescription and self-reported physical activity from V1 to V2. RESULTS: The frequency of PA assessment at visits decreased as pregnancy progressed (V1=82.1%; V2=45.9%). Median PA minutes reported increased from V1 (25.0 min/wk) to V2 (60.0 min/wk). Likewise, the percentage of pregnant women receiving a PA prescription decreased from visit to visit (V1=68.6%; V2=56.3%). Women who received a PA prescription reported a greater increase in PA from V1 to V2 (117 min/wk) compared to women who did not receive a PA prescription (72 min/wk) (pCONCLUSION:PA among pregnant women appears positively influenced by PA prescriptions provided by healthcare providers. Further training of healthcare providers is needed to increase the prevalence of prenatal exercise prescriptions consistent with PA guidelines.

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