A systematic review of changes in women’s physical activity before and during pregnancy and the postnatal period

Abbasi, Marzieh and van den Akker, Olga ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3529-4358 (2015) A systematic review of changes in women’s physical activity before and during pregnancy and the postnatal period. Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology, 33 (4) . pp. 325-358. ISSN 0264-6838 [Article] (doi:10.1080/02646838.2015.1012710)

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Objectives: To determine the magnitude and type of naturally occuring physical activity changes in women around the time of pregnancy.

Background: This systematic review synthesises the results of studies examining naturally occurring physical activity in women before they become pregnant and the magnitude and type of changes during pregnancy and the postnatal period.

Methods: Electronic databases were searched for relevant articles and PRISMA guidelines for selection of articles were used. Only studies examining naturally occurring, non-intervention changes in regular activity levels were included. The quality assessment was based on protocols of the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. Of the initial 720 titles, 24 studies met the inclusion criteria and were included in the final review.

Results: Compared to pre-pregnancy, the magnitude of physical activity decreased over the course of pregnancy and postnatally and the types of activities tended to be of lesser intensity than pre-pregnancy. The quality of the research was varied; methodological limitations included using subjective methods of assessment of physical activity (9/24), failing to report reliabilities or validity of measures used (8/24), no information on parity (13/24) or level of fitness prior to pregnancy (11/24).

Conclusion: The evidence suggests a marked decrease in the amount and type of moderate to strenuous physical activity during the transition to motherhood, which does not always increase again postpartum. Patient education targeting specific physical activities at regular intervals during and after pregnancy to improve long-term maternal health is necessary.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Published online: 13 Mar 2015
Keywords (uncontrolled): Pregnancy, post natal, physical activity, exercise
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology > Psychology > Applied Health Psychology group
Item ID: 15259
Notes on copyright: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology on 13/05/2015, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/02646838.2015.1012710
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Depositing User: Olga Van Den akker
Date Deposited: 24 Apr 2015 11:08
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2022 22:33
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/15259

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