The effect of a medically-supervised exercise intervention for obese pregnant women on quality of life and fitness: a randomised controlled trial

Type Article

Journal Article


N. Daly; M. Farren; A. McKeating; C. M. Reynolds; B. Egan; M. J. Turner

Year of publication











Introduction: Obesity is associated with complications that impact negatively on maternal well‐being and quality of life (QoL). Pregnancy is an opportune time to encourage exercise, but the effects of exercise are not well‐defined during pregnancy. This study aimed to evaluate the effect of a medically‐supervised exercise intervention on QoL and maternal fitness. Methods: Women (n = 88) were randomised into two groups: the intervention group (exercise, n = 44) and the control group (routine antenatal care, n = 44). The intervention group was invited to three group exercise circuit training classes per week with social media support. Inclusion criteria were: a body mass index (BMI) ≥ 30 kg/m2 and ultrasound confirmation of an ongoing pregnancy. Results: Maternal QoL data were collected at recruitment, at 24‐28 and 36 weeks' gestation, and at 6 weeks postpartum. Fitness data were collected at recruitment and at 6 weeks postpartum. There was no difference between groups in Health Status score at recruitment but, at 36 weeks and 6 weeks postpartum, scores were higher in the intervention group (median [IQR]: 65 [25] versus 72.5 [19], P < 0.05; and 60 [30] versus 70 [25.5], P < 0.05). At recruitment, there was no difference between groups in fitness. At 6 weeks postpartum, performance was better in the intervention group (steps per minute [25.7 ± 3.4 versus 28.6 ± 2.5, P < 0.0005], sit‐tostand test [ss.00, 23.13 ± 4.63 versus 16.33 ± 4.33, P < 0.0005], and grip strength [23.5 ± 5.5 versus 27.6 ± 6.0 kg, P < 0.01]). Conclusions: This exercise intervention with social media support demonstrated improvements in maternal wellbeing: QoL at 36 weeks' gestation and 6 weeks postpartum, and in fitness at 6 weeks postpartum.