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Article Title

THE EFFECTS OF FUNCTIONAL RESISTANCE TRAINING ON PREGNANCY-RELATED PHYSICAL DISCOMFORTS AND QUALITY OF LIFE

Abstract

A. Frichtl, R. Joiner, G. Stolte, C.P. Connolly

Washington State University, Pullman, WA

The majority of pregnant woman experience several physical discomforts throughout gestation, which may include fatigue, pregnancy- induced nausea, and back and/or leg pain. Previous qualitative findings suggest physical activity during pregnancy may alleviate some of these discomforts. PURPOSE: We sought to examine the impact of a late-pregnancy functional resistance training program on perceptions of sleep quality, pregnancy-induced nausea and back pain, and quality of life (QOL). METHODS: Participants (n=18) were randomized into either an exercise intervention or control group. Both groups began participating between 22-24 gestational age. Intervention participants completed an eight-week program which consisted of viewing and simulating video exercise sessions. Study investigators determined baseline exercise intensity for each participant and adjusted the training intensity throughout the eight weeks as needed. Participants completed an online questionnaire prior to participation and immediately after intervention/control completion (P1) and also two weeks after completion (P2). Participants answered questions on common physical discomforts during pregnancy, past and present pregnancy health history, and basic demographics. RESULTS: The analytic sample was primarily Caucasian (83.3%) and well-educated, with intervention participants being slightly older (n=9, mean age=30.3) than control participants (n=9, mean age 28.0). Effects for sleep quality, pregnancy-induced nausea and back pain did not differ between intervention and control participants. While intervention participants saw no significant change in QOL scores from pre to P2 (pre=88.3, P1=90.3, P2=89.4), control participants experienced a clear decrease in QOL throughout (pre=95.1, P1=91.6, P2=90.1). As such, the change in quality of life scores throughout participation significantly differed between intervention and control participants (p=0.02). CONCLUSION: Functional resistance training appears to have a protective effect on quality of life during mid-late pregnancy despite have no effect on common physical discomforts.

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