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.
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.
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).
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.