Physical activity and exercise during pregnancy in Greece: A cross-sectional study

Ermioni Tsarna, Ioanna Mavrommati, Grigorios Bogdanis, Olga Triantafillidou, George Paltoglou, Panagiotis Christopoulos

Abstract

Introduction: Physical activity and exercise during pregnancy is regarded safe and beneficial in absence of pregnancy complications. The aim of this cross-sectional study is to describe physical activity of pregnant women in Greece and explore if it changes during pregnancy compared to the period before pregnancy.

Material and Methods: The study was conducted in a private maternity hospital. Women were asked to fill in an adapted questionnaire based on Pregnant Physical Activity Questionnaire; birth outcomes and anthropometric measurements of the neonate were collected by the research midwife.

Results: In our study population of 193 pregnant women, approximately half reported no or minimal physical activity during pregnancy and were less active than current guidelines’ recommendations. Gynaecologist’s opinion regarding exercise during pregnancy was conceived as positive only by a minority of women. Overall, women were less active during pregnancy than before, although they spent more time slowly walking for fun or exercise. Lastly, significant decrease was observed in all occupational activities involving slow or quick walking and lifting weights.

Conclusions: These results indicate that systematic counselling of pregnant women regarding physical activity and exercise during pregnancy will be needed to achieve optimal physical activity levels for the majority of women in Greece.

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