Physical activity during pregnancy - too much, too little?

Research output: Contribution to conference without a publisher/journalPosterResearch


PurposeThe purpose of the study was to increase focus on health promotion during pregnancy through information about physical activity and to defuse unscientific “stories” about exercise during pregnancy. This study evaluated and explored pregnant women’s experiences of a physiotherapeutic intervention consisting of a combination of information and physical activity. SubjectsTen first-time pregnant women in the last trimester participated in a physiotherapy educational intervention focused on physical activity during pregnancy. Their mean age was 25.4 years (range: 21 to 30). They are living in a larger city of Denmark, and their educational backgrounds are graduate or higher education level. MethodsThe intervention consisted of four educational sessions provided by two physiotherapists. Both the pregnant women and their partners participated. Each session began with information about the topic and was followed by physical activity. The topics where; 1) Strengthening endurance - integrating exercise into daily life; 2) cardio training and guidance to handle “picking pangs” during physical activity; 3) The pelvic floor and how to contract during physical activity and how to relax; 4) After childbirth - when to start exercising? Individual semi-structured interviews were conducted to evaluate the sessions. Data was transcribed verbatim and analyzed by means of a content analysis. ResultsOverall, the pregnant women reported that they gained new knowledge about staying physical active during pregnancy on a daily basis. This included awareness of the appropriate level of physical activity and how it affects the fetus´ health. Knowledge about a strong pelvic floor and on being physical active after childbirth was valuable. The combination of information, practical exercises and the possibility to raise questions during the sessions was emphasized. The importance of their partners’ presence during the sessions was strongly highlighted. The sessions increased the partners’ focus on the value of physical activity and they became differently encouraging and supportive. ConclusionsPhysiotherapeutic educational intervention focusing on physical activity during pregnancy seems to be a potential valuable healthcare-service. Involvement of partners appears to be crucial. Clinical relevanceThe study indicates the relevance of physiotherapists participating in the current prenatal healthcare-service with focus on exercise and defusing unscientific “stories” about physical activity during pregnancy.Authors: Jannie Schmidt, Senior Lecturer1; Josephine Nielsen, Lecturer1; Jette Bangshaab, Research Leader1; Tina Helle, PhD11University College North, Department of research and development, Department of physiotherapy, Aalborg, Denmark
Original languageEnglish
Publication dateSept 2017
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2017
EventENPHE 2017 - Radisson Blu Hotel Saga, Reykjavik, Iceland
Duration: 21 Sept 201723 Sept 2017
Conference number: 22


ConferenceENPHE 2017
LocationRadisson Blu Hotel Saga
Internet address


  • occupational therapy
  • physiotherapy
  • pregnant women


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