Perceptions and experiences of women who continue vigorous physical activity during pregnancy

Downey, Julie A. (2008) Perceptions and experiences of women who continue vigorous physical activity during pregnancy. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Despite medical evidence suggesting that exercise during pregnancy does not cause any harm to the developing foetus, anecdotal reports would suggest that many pregnant women are reluctant to exercise. The purpose of this project was to explore the experiences of highly active women who continued with vigorous physical activity during their pregnancy(s), to clarify the reactions of and the advice they received from people around them and how they responded to those reactions. In-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with ten pregnant women aged between 30 and 45. Detailed analysis of the interview transcripts identified a number of consistent themes. All of the women viewed exercise as a critical part of their lives and demonstrated a strong exerciser identity. They all reported experiencing negative encounters and limitations being placed on them regarding their exercise behavior during pregnancy. However, all of the women reported that they maintained their vigorous activities throughout their pregnancies in spite of these reactions. Many women reported that they felt that their pregnancy experiences were being medicalized and that they felt pressured to follow their physician's advice and to downgrade their activity levels. All of the women reported that a variety of supports were very important to them continuing with their exercise routine including their spouses, other exercising women, encouraging research, and supportive physicians. These results are discussed with reference to pre-natal education for expectant mothers and their spouses and for professional education for health professionals.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 9291
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (leaves 91-97).
Department(s): Medicine, Faculty of
Date: 2008
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Exercise for pregnant women--Risk assessment; Exercise for pregnant women
Medical Subject Heading: Exercise; Pregnancy

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