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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 2394-2399

Exercise among pregnant females in maternity and children hospital in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, 2019: Prevalence and barriers

1 Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, King Abdul-Aziz University, Ministry of Health, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
2 Arab Board Family Medicine, Department of Family Medicine, International Medical Center Hospital, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Marwa A Aljehani
Bani Malik, Jeddah
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jfmpc.jfmpc_162_21

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Objectives: To estimate the prevalence and explore factors of adequate physical activity among pregnant women in maternal care. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study conducted in healthy pregnant women visiting the antenatal clinics of the Maternity & Children's Hospital, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. A structured questionnaire was administered face to face to collect the following: 1) sociodemographic and obstetrical data; 2) the Arabic version of the Pregnancy Physical Activity Questionnaire (PPAQ) developed by Lisa Chasan-Taber; and 3) barriers to exercise. The PPAQ enabled calculating average weekly energy expenditures in various activities, in metabolic equivalent (MET-h/week) and determining two levels of physical activity (active versus inactive). Results: Two hundred and five pregnant women were included: 49.3% were multiparous (gravida >2) and 55.6% declared exercising before pregnancy. The median overall energy expenditure was 108.0 MET-h/week, and household/caregiving activities accounted for the most important share (median = 45.7 MET-h/week), followed by transportation (12.6 MET-h/week). Of the total, 45.9% met the WHO criteria of adequate physical activity. There was no statistically significant difference between physically active and inactive participants across demographic factors. The most common barriers to being active were lack of energy, fatigue, or drowsiness (70.2%), lack of education by doctors (68.3%), and inconvenient weather (62.0%). Conclusion: Women in Saudi Arabia have decline in physical activity during pregnancy, and less than 50% maintain a level of exercise that enables beneficial effects on their overall health and pregnancy outcome. Health authorities and decision makers should consider implementing a national strategy and guidelines for the promotion of physical activity during pregnancy.

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