Exercise and pregnancy knowledge among healthcare providers

J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2010 Feb;19(2):335-41. doi: 10.1089/jwh.2008.1295.


Aim: To examine healthcare provider knowledge, beliefs, and practices regarding exercise during pregnancy using a cross-sectional 31-question pen and paper survey.

Methods: Ninety-three practicing healthcare providers, M.D. (n = 45) and D.O. (n = 14) physicians and certified nurse midwives (C.N.M., n = 34), from hospitals and birth centers around Michigan participated in this study. Descriptive characteristic data, provider knowledge, beliefs, and practices regarding exercise during pregnancy, common exercise restrictions given to pregnant patients, and provider awareness of current American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) exercise and pregnancy guidelines were collected. Descriptive statistics and chi-square analyses were completed.

Results: Overall, 99% of respondents believed that exercise during pregnancy is beneficial, 64% of all respondents believed that maternal exercise heart rate should not exceed 140 beats per minute (bpm), and 60% of M.D.s and 86% of D.O.s were not familiar with the 1994 ACOG guidelines for exercise and pregnancy (p < 0.05).

Conclusions: Although the providers' beliefs about exercise during pregnancy were positive, not all were aware of or followed current ACOG recommendations. Different strategies for dissemination of current research may be warranted.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Health Personnel*
  • Heart Rate / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medical Staff
  • Michigan
  • Middle Aged
  • Midwifery
  • Osteopathic Physicians
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Pregnancy / physiology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires