Physical activity and associated factors in Australian women during pregnancy: A cross-sectional study

Dragana Ceprnja, Lucy Chipchase, Pranee Liamputtong, Amitabh Gupta

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Abstract

Issue Addressed
Whilst the benefits of regular physical activity during pregnancy are well known, the few studies conducted in Australian pregnant women suggest that most do not meet recommended exercise guidelines. The aim of this study was to determine the levels of physical activity, sedentary behaviours, and associated factors in Australian pregnant women.

Methods
A random sample of pregnant women (N = 780) of (mean [SD]) 31 (5) years of age completed a questionnaire describing weekly physical activity and sedentary behaviours. A number of potential risk factors, including socio-demographic characteristics and ethnicity, were investigated using logistic regression.

Results
Approximately one-third (34%) of women were classified as “active”; however, only 7% of women performed the recommended amount of physical activity according to Australian guidelines. Women reported (mean [95% CI]) sitting for 8 (7.8–8.2) hours and lying down during the day for 0.5 (0.5–0.6) hour while pregnant. Being university educated (OR [95% CI]) (2.87 [1.6–4.9]), in paid employment (2.12 [1.14–3.94]) and having a lower body mass index (0.91 [0.87–0.95]) were factors associated with being active.

Conclusion
Australian women performed low levels of physical activity during pregnancy and spend long periods of time in sedentary behaviours.

So What?
There is a strong need for a concerted health promotion strategy to endorse increased physical activity, along with a reduction in sedentary behaviours, during pregnancy to support better maternal outcomes in Australia.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages7
JournalHealth Promotion Journal of Australia
Early online date26 Feb 2024
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26 Feb 2024

Keywords

  • associated factors
  • exercise
  • physical activity
  • pregnancy
  • pregnant women
  • sedentary behaviours

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