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Danielle Symons Downs, Guy C. LeMasurier and Jennifer M. DiNallo

Background:

Research examining women’s pregnancy physical activity (PA) behaviors with objective measures is scant. Therefore, 2 studies were conducted to determine the feasibility of pregnant women wearing pedometers and to examine women’s self-reported and objectively measured PA behaviors.

Methods:

Participants were pregnant women (Study 1 N = 50, Study 2 N = 30) who completed the Leisure-Time Exercise Questionnaire (LTEQ) and wore a Yamax pedometer for 3 consecutive days during free living at 20- and 32-weeks gestation.

Results:

As predicted in Study 1, we found (a) 100% participant agreement in wearing the pedometer and (b) LTEQ min and pedometer-determined indices classified 67% to 86% of the participants as insufficiently active at 20-weeks gestation. In Study 2, as hypothesized, (a) mean steps/d, LTEQ total, strenuous, and mild min of PA were positively associated at 20- and 32-weeks gestation; (b) mean steps/d and LTEQ strenuous min significantly declined from 20- to 32-weeks gestation; and (c) more women were classified as sedentary and low active at 32-weeks (73%) compared with 20-weeks gestation (50%).

Conclusions:

These findings are consistent with previous epidemiological evidence documenting the decline in women’s PA behaviors across the trimesters. They also illustrate that pedometer-determined indices might be a useful tool facilitating PA adoption and maintenance during pregnancy.