Strategies to Promote Physical Activity During Pregnancy

Emily E. Pearce, Kelly R. Evenson, Danielle Symons Downs, Allan Steckler

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Physical activity during pregnancy has been associated with significant health benefits; however, most women in the United States do not meet the current guidelines. This systematic review evaluates evidence for interventions to improve physical activity during pregnancy in order to identify best practices and inform future research. Electronic databases (PubMed, CINAHL, SportDISCUS, Embase, ERIC, Psych Info, and ISI Web of Science) were searched in July 2011 for peer-reviewed journal articles. Studies were included if they were English-language randomized control trials that measured the efficacy of an intervention targeted at pregnant women and were designed to change physical activity as a primary or secondary outcome. Out of 777 studies identified through the systematic search, 9 interventions were selected for inclusion by multiple reviewers. Data were abstracted using an abstraction form modeled after the "Guide to Community Preventive Services." Of the 9 interventions included in the review, 3 reported statistically significant positive results for physical activity. Although the interventions included a variety of strategies and techniques, none were uniquely associated with positive outcomes. Overall, this review suggests that little is known about the efficacy of interventions for physical activity during pregnancy. This study provides several recommendations for future research and intervention design.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)38-50
Number of pages13
JournalAmerican Journal of Lifestyle Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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