The role of physical activity during pregnancy in determining maternal and foetal outcomes
Background. A woman’s health status prior to, and during, pregnancy has been shown to influence maternal and foetal health outcomes, and therefore healthy behaviours should be encouraged to optimise weight gain during pregnancy.
Discussion. Pre-gravid overweight and obesity, and excessive weight gain during pregnancy, are associated with several adverse pregnancy outcomes for the mother and the foetus. Despite the fact that physical activity during pregnancy reduces the risk of excessive gestational weight gain, physical activity levels typically decline during pregnancy. Several factors have been shown to influence physical activity during pregnancy, and preliminary data is available on identifying these factors in South African women.
Conclusion. Very little is known about physical activity patterns in pregnant South African women in whom overweight and obesity is prevalent. Examining these patterns, as well as the barriers and facilitators of physical activity in this population will assist in informing future interventions.
Keywords. South Africa, obesity, barriers, interventions