This study explored the perception and knowledge of, attitude toward, and participation in physical activity (PA) among pregnant women attending public hospitals in a southeastern Nigerian state.
Despite reports of PA-related health benefits, reports of low PA among pregnant women are postulated to stem from negative attitude, perhaps, due to poor knowledge of PA.
This study involved 150 pregnant women seeking care from antenatal clinics of the 2 teaching hospitals in Anambra State, Nigeria. Information on age, parity, weeks of pregnancy, highest educational attainment, marital status, occupation, week of commencing antenatal care, perception of PA, knowledge about PA, attitude toward PA, and participation in PA was collected using a self-developed and pilot-tested questionnaire. Physical activity level was assessed using Pregnancy Physical Activity Questionnaire.
Most participants reported favorable perceptions of PA behavior in terms of having time, being able to afford, and lack of barrier (home, work, and family-/friend-related), and its benefits. They reported good knowledge about PA behavior in line with established PA guidelines in pregnancy. The participants demonstrated positive attitude in terms of its benefits, importance, and involved risk, and reported high level of participation in PA. There were statistically significant correlations between perception of PA, PA knowledge, attitude toward PA and PA participation.
Improving the perception and knowledge of PA in pregnant women may foster positive attitude toward PA participation and thus a positive increase in PA participation.
1Department of Medical Rehabilitation, Faculty of Health Sciences and Technology, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Nnewi, Nigeria.
2Department of Physiotherapy, Faculty of Allied Health Sciences, Bayero University, Kano, Nigeria.
The authors declare no conflicts of interest.