Factors Influencing Attitudes Toward Physical Activity and Exercise Education in Pregnant Women


  • Varun Nukala, BS Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, United States
  • Lisa Baute, MD Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, United States
  • Maria V. Velasquez Hammerle, MD Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, United States
  • Sabrina Neimark Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, United States
  • Michael Galetta, BS Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine
  • Miho J. Tanaka, MD, PhD Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, United States




fitness, physical activity, education, confidence, pregnancy, exercise


Background: The aim of this study was to report on attitudes of pregnant women regarding exercise and exercise education and to identify factors influencing their interest in receiving exercise education.

Methods: A cross-sectional survey was completed by 134 women being evaluated for a routine obstetrical visit.  Self-reported information regarding demographics, physical activity participation, confidence in knowledge about pregnancy exercise guidelines, and interest in receiving information about exercise during pregnancy was obtained. Descriptive statistics were used to summarize the data. Multiple logistic regressions were performed to measure associations between patient characteristics and exercise decline, confidence, and interest.

Results: Participants had a mean age of 33.6 ± 4.3 years, mean BMI of 27.9 ± 5.0, and a mean gestational age of 26 ± 10 weeks. Reported level of physical activity decreased during pregnancy for 73.9 % of women. A significant association was found between pre-pregnancy physical activity (OR 2.00 (1.21-3.52), p = 0.010) and exercise decline. Significant, independent relationships were identified between increased confidence in exercise education and younger patient age (OR 0.89(0.82-0.98), p = 0.015), previous pregnancies (OR 0.43 (0.21-0.86), p = 0.060), higher level of pre-pregnancy exercise (OR 1.73 (1.19-2.53), p = 0.004), and more education received from physicians (OR 1.94 (1.54-2.49), p < 0.001). Interest in education was associated with higher level of physical activity before pregnancy (OR 1.75(1.21-2.57), p = 0.004) and lower amount of education received from physicians (OR 0.78(0.63-0.97), p = 0.025).

Conclusions: Women commonly report a decline in exercise during pregnancy, particularly among women with high levels of physical activity prior to pregnancy. Attitudes toward pregnancy exercise education were found to be correlated with patient characteristics including age, nulliparity, level of physical activity before pregnancy, and education received from physicians. These associations can be used to identify target populations for future interventions.


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How to Cite

Nukala, V., Baute, L., V. Velasquez Hammerle, M., Neimark, S., Galetta, M., & Tanaka, M. (2023). Factors Influencing Attitudes Toward Physical Activity and Exercise Education in Pregnant Women. Journal of Women’s Sports Medicine, 3(2), 44–57. https://doi.org/10.53646/jwsm.v3i2.40




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