Exploring the intensity, barriers and correlates of physical activity In Iranian pregnant women: a cross-sectional study

Katayon Ahmadi, Leila Amiri-Farahani, Shima Haghani, Seyedeh Batool Hasanpoor‑Azghady, Sally Pezaro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
22 Downloads (Pure)


Objectives To determine the intensity, barriers and correlates of physical activity (PA) in Iranian pregnant women.

Methods This cross-sectional study was carried out with 300 eligible pregnant women referred to the Ilam health centres and bases using stratified random sampling with proportional allocation. Data collection tools included a demographic and obstetrical history questionnaire, the Pregnancy Physical Activity Questionnaire and the Exercise Benefits/Barriers Scale. The association between demographic and obstetrical characteristics and PA intensity and barriers were studied using multiple linear regression models.

Results The mean and SD of the total score of PA intensity were 47.15 and 26.25 metabolic equivalent of task (MET)-hour/week, respectively. The highest and the lowest barriers were related to the time expenditure (42.77±18.04) and family discouragement (50.72±24.99) constructs, respectively. The PA intensity was significantly associated with prepregnancy or early pregnancy body mass index (B=25.6), ethnicity (B=16.94), level of education (B=−8.77), number of children (B=5.95), gestational age (B=0.81), participation in childbirth preparation classes (B=−11.27), habitual exercise before pregnancy (B=6.09), income (B=−9.22). The PA barriers were significantly associated with ethnicity (B=−4.96), income (B=2.23) and habitual exercise before pregnancy (B =−1.35).

Conclusion PA intensity may be enhanced by encouraging individuals to be more physically active before pregnancy. Additionally, strategies to enhance support from friends and family to engage in PA throughout pregnancy and PA interventions focused on women with lower levels of income and education are required.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere001020
Number of pages12
JournalBMJ Open Sport and Exercise Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 6 Oct 2021

Bibliographical note

This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported (CC BY 4.0) license, which permits others to copy, redistribute, remix, transform and build upon this work for any purpose, provided the original work is properly cited, a link to the licence is given, and indication of whether changes were made.
See: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.


Funding The present article is extracted from a master thesis funded by the Research Deputy of Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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