Physical activity before pregnancy and following childbirth in a multiethnic sample of healthy women in Hawaii

Cheryl L. Albright, Jay E. Maddock, Claudio R. Nigg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

92 Scopus citations


Purpose: Investigate physical activity and related psychosocial factors reported by new mothers. Methods: Women (N = 79) were surveyed to determine their physical activity patterns before and after childbirth. Barriers and facilitators of physical activity were also identified. Findings: Most women (63%) were ethnic minorities, mean age was 31.8 ± 5.5 years, and their infants' mean age was 8.2 ± 3.8 months. Combining women's reported physical activity before their pregnancy and after childbirth resulted in four significantly different groups: (1) 21.5% were inactive before and after birth; (2) 22.7% were active before and after; (3) 12.6% were inactive before, but active after birth; and (4) 43.0% were active before but inactive or irregularly active postpartum (p < .0003). Barriers to physical activity included personal issues, including lack of support from a spouse, and parenting duties. Facilitators to being active included social support for exercise and availability of childcare. Conclusions: New mothers are at high risk for inactivity and reductions in previously established levels of physical activity. They also have specific barriers and facilitators to being physically active. Future research should develop effective methods for increasing physical activity in mothers of infants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)95-110
Number of pages16
JournalWomen and Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 5 2006


  • Exercise
  • Multiethnic
  • Physical activity
  • Postpartum
  • Women with infants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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