Reasons, Motivational Factors, and Perceived Personal Barriers to Engagement in Physical Activity During Pregnancy Vary Within the BMI Classes: The Prenatal Prevention Project Germany

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Background: International data indicate that approximately only 20.0% of pregnant women reach physical activity recommendations (≥150 min/wk). To find ways for increasing physical activity, the reasons for exercising, motivational factors, and barriers need to be determined. The aim of this pilot study was to identify these factors in respect to body mass index classification in German pregnant women. Methods: A total of 61 women [age: 32.7 (4.8) y; 13.3 (3.4) wk of gestation] participated in this study. Before pregnancy, 10.0% of women were underweight, 58.3% were normal weight, 18.3% were overweight, and 13.4% were obese. Standardized questionnaires were used to evaluate the abovementioned factors. Results: “Fun” was one of the main reasons for being active in underweight/normal weight compared with overweight/obese women (53.7% vs 10.5%; P = .002), whereas “burning fat” was more important in overweight/obese women (9.8% vs 36.8%; P = .027). According to motivational factors, differences occurred in “calorie burning” (7.3% underweight/normal weight vs 31.6% overweight/obese; P = .025) and “fat burning” (7.3% underweight/normal weight vs 47.4% overweight/obese; P = .001). Regarding barriers for being active, “tiredness” was more often a barrier in overweight/obese (63.2%) compared with normal weight/underweight women (31.7%; P = .022). Conclusion: Pregnant women should be given tailored advice/motivation according to prepregnancy body mass index. However, larger studies are necessary to evaluate these factors on pregnant women’s physical activity level.

Bauer, Graf, Platschek, and Strüder are with the Institute of Movement and Neurosciences, German Sport University Cologne, Cologne, Germany. Graf and Ferrari are with the Cologne Centre for Prevention in Childhood and Youth, Heart Centre Cologne, University Hospital of Cologne, Cologne, Germany.

Bauer (bauer_carina@hotmail.com) is corresponding author.
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