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

Medbh Hillyard, Marlene Sinclair, Marie Murphy, Karen Casson, Ciara Mulligan

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Abstract

Background: The aim of this study was to understand how physical activity and sedentary behaviour levels of pregnant women with gestational diabetes in the UK have been affected by COVID-19. Methods: An online survey exploring physical activity and sedentary behaviour levels of pregnant women with gestational diabetes during COVID-19 was distributed through social media platforms. Women who had been pregnant during the COVID-19 outbreak and had gestational diabetes, were resident in the UK, were 18 years old or over and could understand written English were invited to take part. Results: A total of 724 women accessed the survey, 553 of these met the eligibility criteria and took part in the survey. Sedentary time increased for 79% of the women during the pandemic. Almost half of the women (47%) were meeting the physical activity guidelines pre COVID-19 during their pregnancy, this dropped to 23% during the COVID-19 pandemic. Fear of leaving the house due to COVID-19 was the most commonly reported reason for the decline. Significant associations were found between meeting the physical activity guidelines during COVID-19 and educational attainment, fitness equipment ownership and knowledge of how to exercise safely in pregnancy. Conclusions and implications: These results show the impact of COVID-19 on physical activity and sedentary behaviour levels and highlight the need for targeted public health initiatives as the pandemic continues and for future lockdowns. Women with gestational diabetes need to know how it is safe and beneficial to them to engage in physical activity and ways to do this from their homes if fear of leaving the house due to COVID-19 is a barrier for them. Online physical activity classes provided by certified trainers in physical activity for pregnant women may help them remain active when face-to-face appointments are reduced and limited additional resources are available.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0254364
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume16
Issue number8
Early online date20 Aug 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 Aug 2021

Keywords

  • Research Article
  • Medicine and health sciences
  • Biology and life sciences
  • Social sciences

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