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.
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.
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%).
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.
Symons Downs and DiNallo are with the Exercise Psychology Laboratory, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802. LeMasurier is with the Dept of Physical Education, Vancouver Island University, Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada.