Objectively Assessing Treadmill Walking During the Second and Third Pregnancy Trimesters

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Background:

To effectively promote physical activity (PA) and quantify the effects of PA interventions for pregnant women, PA measurement during pregnancy needs improvement. The purpose of this study was to assess PA monitor output during a controlled, treadmill walking protocol among pregnant women at 20- and 32-weeks gestation.

Methods:

Women (N = 43) wore an Actigraph accelerometer, NL1000, and Yamax pedometer during a 20-minute treadmill walking test [5-minute periods at 4 different speeds (54, 67, 80, and 94 m·min−1)] at 20- and 32-weeks gestation.

Results:

Repeated-measures ANOVAs indicated that Actigraph total counts/minute and minutes of moderate-vigorous PA (MVPA), NL1000 steps and minutes MVPA, and Yamax steps decreased from 20- to 32-weeks gestation (P ≤ .05), while body girth circumference and activity monitor tilt increased (P ≤ .05). Repeated measures ANCOVAs, controlling for changes in body girth and monitor tilt, yielded no significant differences in any outcome measures from 20- to 32-weeks gestation.

Conclusions:

Preliminary results suggest physical changes during pregnancy impact activity monitor output in controlled settings. Accurately measuring and statistically controlling for changes in body girth at monitor placement site and monitor tilt may improve the accuracy of activity monitors for use with pregnant populations.

DiNallo and Downs are with the Dept of Kinesiology, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA. Le Masurier is with the Dept of Sport Health and Physical Education, Vancouver Island University, Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada.