Women who exercise 1-2 times a week are less likely to report low back pain and depression, say authors of a study that followed 3,482 pregnant women in Norway. Women exercising 3 or more times a week during pregnancy are less likely to report pelvic girdle pain and low back pain, although the result for low back pain was not found to be significant. Despite these benefits, few women follow current exercise prescriptions for exercise in mid-pregnancy, the authors add.
The authors collected data by questionnaire in pregnancy weeks 17-21, pregnancy week 32, and at birth. Only 14.6% of the respondents followed the current exercise prescription for exercise during pregnancy (3 or more times a week for at least 20 minutes at moderate intensity). One-third of the study sample exercised less than once a week at pregnancy weeks 17-21. Women who exercised at least once a week at mid-pregnancy were more often primiparous, higher-educated, and less likely to have a prepregnacy body mass index of greater than 30 kg/m2 than women exercising less than once a week.
The study is published online in British Journal of Sports Medicine.
APTA's consumer e-book, Women's Health Across the Lifespan, and an APTA video explain how PTs can help pregnant women with low back pain. Share these and other women's health resources with your patients by linking to Move Forward from your website.