The impact of COVID-19 on the physical activity and sedentary behaviour levels of pregnant women with gestational diabetes.

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Abstract

Background
The public health guidance for physical activity (PA) levels in pregnancy recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity PA weekly. The aim of this study was to understand how PA and sedentary behaviour levels of pregnant women with GDM in the UK have been affected by COVID-19.

Methods
An online survey exploring PA and sedentary behaviour levels of pregnant women with GDM during COVID-19 was carried out.
Sample
Women who had been pregnant with GDM during the COVID pandemic were recruited through various social media platforms.
Ethics
Ethical approval was granted by the Ulster University Nursing and Health Research Ethics Filter Committee.
Results
A total of 724 women accessed the survey, 553 of these met the eligibility criteria. Sedentary time increased for 79% of the women during the pandemic.
Almost half of the women (47%) were meeting the PA guidelines pre COVID during their pregnancy, dropping to 23% during the COVID pandemic. Fear of leaving the house due to COVID was the most commonly reported reason for the decline
Discussion
These results show the large impact of COVID-19 on PA and sedentary behaviour levels and highlights the need for targeted public health initiatives. Women with GDM need to know how it is safe and beneficial to them to engage in PA and ways to do this from their own homes if fear of leaving the house due to COVID is a barrier for them. Investment of targeted online PA classes provided by certified trainers in PA for pregnant women is a worthy investment. The challenge is how best to do this with reduced face to face appointments and extra pressure on resources.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCoronavirus: the 2020 Director of Public Health report for Northern Ireland
Pages172-177
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2020

Keywords

  • Gestational diabetes
  • Covid-19
  • physical activity
  • sedentary behaviour
  • pregnancy
  • public health

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