Exercise during pregnancy has known health benefits; however, the impact of achieving 150 minutes of exercise/week on overall and domain-specific quality of life (QOL) during and after pregnancy is unclear.METHODS:
We conducted a secondary analysis from a prospective cohort study (2013–2015) of 577 pregnant women. At each trimester and six months postpartum, surveys assessed the amount and mode(s) of physical activity, QOL (overall, physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, and social domains). Depressive symptoms were assessed using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression (EPDS) scale at 6–8 weeks postpartum. Statistical analysis: QOL and EPDS scores were compared between those who exercised greater than 150 minutes/week (exercisers) and those who exercised less (non-exercisers) within each trimester of pregnancy using Wilcoxon tests. Logistic regression was used to predict postpartum QOL and EPDS scores, using varying measures of exercise during pregnancy as the main predictor variable.RESULTS:
Of 572 persons with survey data, 335 (58.6%) reported exercising greater than 150 minutes/week during trimester one. In univariable analyses, scores were consistently, modestly higher for overall, physical and emotional QOL for exercisers, compared with non-exercisers, in each trimester with P<.0.001 for most comparisons. However, neither exercise status nor amount during pregnancy predicted postpartum QOL or EPDS scores in a sub-sample of 156 women (average 66.7% exercisers) with complete survey data.CONCLUSION:
Achieving a recommended exercise level had a small but statistically significant positive impact on specific measures of pregnancy QOL. However, the amount of weekly exercise did not predict postpartum QOL or depression scores in our cohort of healthy pregnant women.