Objectives: National data indicate that Latina women are less active than non-Latina white women and are at higher risk of gestational diabetes and subsequent type 2 diabetes. Physical activity may reduce risk of maternal disorders of pregnancy, but sparse data exists on the correlates of physical activity in pregnant Latina women.
Methods: We conducted a prospective cohort study from 2000 to 2004 among healthy Latina prenatal care patients in a public clinic and midwifery practice. Physical activity was assessed using a modified version of the Kaiser Physical Activity Survey (KPAS) in early and mid pregnancy.
Results: A total of 1,231 women (predominantly of Puerto Rican heritage) met the eligibility criteria and were enrolled. Participation in household/caregiving, occupational, sports/exercise, and active living decreased from prepregnancy to pregnancy. Overall, women who were more active prior to pregnancy were more likely to have high levels of participation in every domain of pregnancy activity. Women with the highest level of participation in occupational activity during pregnancy (defined as the highest quartile of activity, compared with the lower three quartiles) were more likely to be older, college-educated, have higher income, and have fewer children. Women with the highest level of household/caregiving activity were more likely to be older, have more children, be U.S. born, and prefer Spanish while women with the highest levels of sports/exercise during pregnancy were less likely to prefer Spanish.
Conclusions: These findings suggest that sociodemographic, acculturation, health, and behavioral correlates of physical activity vary by domain among Latina women. Programs aimed at promoting physical activity during pregnancy in this high risk ethnic group should recognize these differences.