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  • Author: Rebecca A. Schlaff x
  • Psychology and Behavior in Sport/Exercise x
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Rebecca A. Schlaff, Claudia Holzman, Lanay M. Mudd, Karin A. Pfeiffer and James M. Pivarnik

Background:

Little is known about how leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) influences gestational weight gain (GWG) among body mass index (BMI) categories. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between pregnancy LTPA and the proportion of normal, overweight, and obese women who meet GWG recommendations.

Methods:

Participants included 449 subcohort women from the Pregnancy Outcomes and Community Health (POUCH) study. LTPA was collapsed into 3 categories [(None, < 7.5 kcal/kg/wk (low), ≥ 7.5 kcal/kg/wk (recommended)]. GWG was categorized according to IOM recommendations (low, recommended, or excess). Chi-square and logistic regression analyses were used to evaluate relationships among LTPA, BMI, and GWG.

Results:

Overweight women were more likely to have high GWG vs. normal weight women (OR = 2.3, 95% CI 1.3–4.0). Obese women were more likely to experience low GWG (OR = 7.3, 95% CI 3.6–15.1; vs. normal and overweight women) or excess GWG (OR = 3.5, 95% CI 1.9–6.5; vs. normal weight women). LTPA did not vary by prepregnancy BMI category (P = .55) and was not related to GWG in any prepregnancy BMI category (P = .78).

Conclusions:

Regardless of prepregnancy BMI, LTPA did not affect a woman’s GWG according to IOM recommendations. Results may be due to LTPA not differing among BMI categories.

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James M. Pivarnik, Christopher P. Connolly, Mallory R. Marshall and Rebecca A. Schlaff

Previous research clearly indicates that exercise training decreases during pregnancy, even among the fittest of women. Despite this, women are typically able to resume their prepregnancy exercise routines soon after delivery, and in some instances, their postpartum performances are better than previously experienced. While anecdotal reports are common, there does not appear to be significant research data to explain this phenomenon. In this review, we explore possible physiologic explanations for heightened postpartum exercise performance, such as pregnancy related changes in aerobic fitness, lactate threshold, flexibility, and musculoskeletal fitness. At this time, limited data do not appear to support an ergogenic role for these variables. Another consideration is a positive change in a woman’s psyche or perceptions toward her athletic abilities as a result of her pregnancy and delivery. While this concept is theoretically possible and may have scientific merit, data are sparse. What is clear is that an increasing number of women are maintaining their physical activity and exercise routines during pregnancy, with many able to return to competition soon after delivery. Well-designed studies are needed to further explore the relationships among physiologic and psychological variables and postpartum exercise performance. Ideally, these studies should be prospective (studying women prepregnancy through the postpartum period) and include diverse samples of women with regard to activity type and fitness level.

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Christopher P. Connolly, James M. Pivarnik, Lanay M. Mudd, Deborah L. Feltz, Rebecca A. Schlaff, Mark G. Lewis, Robert M. Silver and Maria K. Lapinski

Background:

Pregnancy risk perceptions and physical activity efficacy beliefs may facilitate or impede pregnancy leisure-time physical activity (LTPA). We examined the separate and joint influence of these variables on LTPA behavior among pregnant women.

Methods:

Pregnant women (n = 302) completed a survey containing questions on LTPA efficacy beliefs and behavior, as well as pregnancy risk perceptions with respect to the health of the unborn baby. As stipulated by the Risk Perception Attitude (RPA) Framework, 4 attitudinal groups were created: Responsive (High Risk+High Efficacy), Proactive (Low+High), Avoidant (High+Low), and Indifferent (Low+Low). Moderate LTPA and vigorous LTPA were dichotomized for study analyses.

Results:

A total of 82 women (27.2%) met the moderate physical activity guideline and 90 women (30.1%) performed any vigorous LTPA. Responsive and proactive pregnant women (those with high efficacy) were most likely to meet the moderate guideline and participate in vigorous LTPA. Hierarchical logistic regression did not reveal an interactive effect of pregnancy risk perceptions and LTPA efficacy beliefs for meeting the moderate guideline (OR = 0.94, 95% CI = 0.66–1.36) or any vigorous LTPA participation (OR = 1.41, 95% CI = 0.86–2.29).

Conclusions:

LTPA efficacy beliefs appear important in facilitating greater levels of pregnancy LTPA. Significant interactive effects between pregnancy risk perceptions and LTPA efficacy beliefs were not found.