The Pregnancy Physical Activity Questionnaire (PPAQ) assesses physical activity practices of pregnant women. The purpose of this study was to identify specific pregnancy practices that were associated with a healthy gestational weight gain (GWG).
Associations between PPAQ scores, pedometer steps, energy intakes (EI), energy expenditures (EE), and rate of GWG were assessed for 61 pregnant women in their second or third trimester during a home visit. Principle component analyses (PCA) were used to cluster PPAQ questions into Factors associated with either rate or total GWG, physical activity (PA), EE, EI, and parity.
PCA identified 3 Factors: Factor 1 associated EE with parity and child care; Factor 2 clustered several structured exercise activities; and Factor 3 grouped walking, playing with pets, and shopping with pedometer steps. Only Factor 3 clustered steps with weekly rate of GWG. EI was not associated with PA or GWG.
PCA analysis identified 15 of 32 PPAQ questions that were related to increased physical activity in pregnant women, but only walking and pedometer steps were associated with GWG. Our analysis supports daily walking as the preferred PA for achieving a healthy rate of GWG.
The authors are with the School of Dietetics and Human Nutrition, McGill University, Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, Quebec, Canada.