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Recreational exercise during pregnancy: Attitudes and beliefs of midwives and physiotherapists

02 July 2018
14 min read
Volume 26 · Issue 7



There is compelling evidence for the benefits of exercise during pregnancy for both the mother and fetus.


To investigate the attitudes and beliefs of physiotherapists and midwives in the North of England regarding the provision of recreational exercise during pregnancy and to identify the sources of information used to influence this.


This study used an observational cross-sectional design. A questionnaire was divided into three sections: demographic information, attitudes and beliefs about recreational exercise, and sources of information. The questionnaire was distributed to a convenience sample of 152 physiotherapists and 168 midwives in the North of England. Descriptive statistics and frequency tables were calculated.


The majority of the findings were positive in relation to attitudes and beliefs about recreational exercise during pregnancy among healthcare practitioners.


It is clear from this study that continuing professional development is required to update some healthcare professionals' knowledge base.

Many studies have confirmed the benefits of recreational exercise during pregnancy for both the mother and the fetus (Magro-Malosso 2017; Rogoziñska et al, 2017). Recreational exercise is defined by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) as ‘planned regular exercise that a woman takes during her pregnancy, which involves energetic (aerobic) exercise (such as swimming or running) and/or strength conditioning exercise’ (RCOG, 2006a:2). Many national and international guidelines recommend that pregnant women should regularly participate in moderate intensity aerobic and strengthening exercises as part of their antenatal care (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), 2002; 2015; Department of Health, 2017). Despite these recommendations, research has shown that only approximately 3-15% of pregnant women in the UK and the USA meet guidelines (Currie et al, 2013).

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