ABSTRACT Objective: Pregnant women often report a lack of knowledge concerning the safety of exercising during pregnancy. Healthcare providers play an integral role in providing pregnant women with the necessary knowledge to promote antenatal physical activity. Thus, the objective of this study was to assess healthcare providers’ beliefs, attitudes, knowledge and practices related to antenatal physical activity counseling. Study Design: 188 Providers (i.e. obstetricians, midwives, and family medicine physicians) completed a 39 closed-item survey. Characteristics among healthcare providers’ physical activity counseling practices as well as belief, attitudes and knowledge were explored. Results: The majority of all providers agreed that physical activity during pregnancy will result in numerous improved health outcomes for mother and baby. Approximately half of the providers (48%, n = 89) were not familiar with the current national guides recommending that women free of obstetric complications should engage in at least 150 minutes of exercise per week. Only 43% of providers believed their patients followed the advice they are given about physical activity. Over half of the providers reported that they provide in-office physical activity counseling, and FMs provide individualized counseling less often than OBs and CNMs (i.e. 33%, 60%, and 65%, respectively; p = 0.0014). Importantly, 17% (n = 31) of providers reported that they never received professional training in antenatal physical activity counseling and of those that did receive training, 69% (n = 107) claimed their training was “fair” or “poor”. Conclusion: Findings from the pre- sent study demonstrate a need for further continuing education opportunities on the current national guide- lines on antenatal physical activity.
Cite this paper
Leiferman, J. , Gutilla, M. , Paulson, J. and Pivarnik, J. (2012) Antenatal physical activity counseling among healthcare providers. Open Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 2, 346-355. doi: 10.4236/ojog.2012.24073.
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