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Experiences of exercise during pregnancy among women who perform regular resistance training: A qualitative study

Journal article
Authors Karolina Petrov Fieril
Monika Fagevik Olsén
Anna Glantz
Maria E H Larsson
Published in Physical Therapy
Volume 94
Issue 8
Pages 1135-1143
ISSN 0031-9023
Publication year 2014
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology
Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Clinical Neuroscience and Rehabilitation
Pages 1135-1143
Language en
Subject categories Physiotherapy


Background. Women who are pregnant and healthy are recommended to do 30 minutes or more of light to moderate exercise a day on most, if not all, days of the week. However, only 1 of 6 pregnant women in the United States and northern Europe follows these recommendations. Little attention has been given to the experience of exercise in pregnancy. Objectives. The aim of the study was to describe experiences of exercise during pregnancy among women who performed regular resistance training. Design. This was a qualitative, inductive content analysis study. Methods. Seventeen pregnant women who exercised on a regular basis participated in individual semistructured, face-to-face interviews that were recorded, transcribed, coded, and condensed into subcategories and categories. Results. Four categories emerged (subcategories within parentheses): (1) positive impact on body and mind (reduced pregnancy-related problems, increased self-confidence and sense of control, immediate positive feedback, and effects on lifestyle and quality of life); (2) expected benefits and facilitators (knowledge of health benefits, part of one's lifestyle, preventing pregnancy-related problems, social support, staying in good shape, and healthy living with regard to the fetus); (3) new exercise barriers (physical limitations, taking care not to harm oneself or the fetus, uncertainty or lack of knowledge, sense of exclusion at the fitness center, lack of understanding on the part of others, and the pregnancy itself provided an easy excuse); and (4) overcoming exercise barriers (lowering the intensity of exercise, modifying the type of exercise, changing exercise goals, and being extra attentive during exercise). Conclusion. Pregnant women strived to exercise if the exercise facilitators outweighed the barriers. As the study described facilitators, barriers, and strategies for how to overcome exercise barriers, the results can be useful in exercise promotion in healthy pregnancy. © 2014 American Physical Therapy Association.

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