What is the effect of supervised group exercise on maternal psychological outcomes and common pregnancy complaints?: A randomized controlled trial
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Background: Being pregnant is followed by several physiological changes and pregnancy symptoms, which have the potential to reduce quality of life and well-being for pregnant women. To date, there is scant knowledge about the effect of regular exercise in relation to maternal psychological outcomes and common pregnancy complaints. Hence, the purpose of the present study was to assess the effects of supervised group exercise on psychological outcomes including well-being, quality of life, body-image and pregnancy depression, as well as on commonly reported pregnancy complaints. Method: This was a single-blind randomized controlled trial. One hundred and five previously sedentary primiparous women, mean age 30.7 ± 4 years, were randomized to an exercise group (n=52) or a control group (n=53). The exercise intervention consisted of twelve weeks of supervised group exercise including cardiovascular and strength training, performed twice a week for 12 weeks, starting at mean gestation week 17.7 (SD 4.2). Women in the exercise group were also asked to include 30 minutes of selfimposed physical activity on the remaining weekdays. The control group received usual pre-natal care and was neither encouraged to nor discouraged from exercising. Outcome measures were assessed through standardized interviews pre- and post-intervention, and included psychological variables related to well-being, quality of life, body image and pregnancy depression, as well as number of women reporting of common pregnancy complaints. Results: Significant differences regarding psychological outcomes in favor of the exercise group were found for fatigue, health satisfaction and negative feelings (sadness, despair, anxiety or depression). Contrary, the control group reported higher enjoyment with life. With respect to pregnancy complaints, fewer women in the exercise group reported nausea/vomiting and numbness/circulation problems, compared to the control group. Adherence rates showed that it was difficult to motivate sedentary pregnant women to participate in regular exercise. Conclusion: Participation in supervised group exercise contributed to improvements in some variables related to maternal well-being and quality of life, as well as reductions in two common pregnancy complaints.
Masteroppgave - Norges idrettshøgskole, 2013