Pregnant women's third trimester exercise behaviors, body mass index, and pregnancy outcomes

Danielle Symons Downs, Heather A. Hausenblas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Pregnancy and postpartum are determinants of sedentary and low active lifestyles. Before effective physical activity interventions are implemented within this population, it is necessary to prospectively examine, during each trimester, their exercise determinants and behaviors within a theoretical framework. The purposes of this study were to: (a) prospectively examine women's third trimester exercise intention and behavior using the theory of planned behavior (TPB), and (b) examine group differences across the TPB constructs, body mass index (BMI), and birth outcomes for women exercising and not exercising during their third trimester. Participants were 62 pregnant women who completed self-report measures during their third trimester and 6-weeks postpartum. We found that: (a) intention predicted exercise behavior; (b) subjective norm predicted exercise intention; and (c) women exercising during their third trimester had significantly lower postpartum BMI and significantly heavier and longer babies than women not exercising during their third trimester. Our findings support the TPB for understanding women's exercise intention and behavior during their third trimester of pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)545-559
Number of pages15
JournalPsychology and Health
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Applied Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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