Impact of compliance with different guidelines on physical activity during pregnancy and perceived barriers to leisure physical activity
The aims of the this prospective study were to analyse physical activity (PA) engagement during the first and second trimesters, considering the different guidelines published on PA, to document the individual characteristics associated with the accomplishment of these guidelines and to examine pregnant women's perceived barriers to leisure PA, using a socioecological framework. A sample of 133 pregnant women in two stages - at 10-12 weeks' gestation (T1) and 20-22 weeks' gestation (T2) - were evaluated. PA was assessed by accelerometry during the T1 and T2 evaluation stages. Socio-demographic characteristics, lifestyle factors and barriers to leisure PA were assessed via questionnaire. A large proportion of women (ranging from 32% to 96%) did not reach the levels of PA recommended by the guidelines. There were no significant differences between T1 and T2 with regard to compliance with PA recommendations. A decrease in PA levels from T1 to T2 was noted for all recommendations. No associations were found between participants' characteristics and adherence to the recommendations in T1 and T2. No significant differences were found in barriers to leisure PA between T1 and T2. The most commonly reported barriers to leisure PA were intrapersonal, not health related. Our results indicate that there were no differences between trimesters regarding compliance of PA recommendations, and perceived barriers were similar in both trimesters.