A Pilot Study on the Effects of Aquatic Exercises on Discomforts of Pregnancy

Authors

  • Sheila A. Smith,

    Corresponding author
    1. Sheila A. Smith, RN, PhD, CNS, FACCE, is an assistant professor in the College of Nursing at Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston.
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  • Yvonne Michel

    1. Yvonne Michel, PhD, is an associate professor and biostatistician and methodologist in the College of Nursing at Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston.
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Address for correspondence: Sheila A. Smith, RN, PhD, CNS, FACCE, College of Nursing Medical University of South Carolina, 99 Jonathan Lucas Street, P.O. Box 250160, Charleston, SC 29425. E-mail: smitsa@musc.edu

Abstract

Objectives:  To estimate the impact of an aquatic exercise program on perception of body image, participation in health-promoting behaviors, barriers to health-promoting participation, level of physical discomfort, and mobility.

Design:  A two-group, quasi-experimental, pretest/posttest design.

Sample and setting:  A convenience sample of 40 nonexercising pregnant women who were at least 19 weeks gestation were recruited. Sixty percent of the sample was African American. Participants self-selected assignment to either the exercise or nonexercise group. Both groups completed self-report measures and underwent a mobility assessment. The exercise group participated in a 60-minute, 6-week aquatic exercise program three sessions per week. The control group was instructed to continue their normal activities of daily living.

Results:  Women who had participated in the aquatic exercise program reported significantly less physical discomfort, improved mobility, and improved body image and health-promoting behaviors as compared to control subjects.

Conclusions:  Aquatic exercise during pregnancy may enhance physical functioning, decreasing maternal discomfort, improving maternal body image, and improving health-promoting behaviors. JOGNN, 35, 315-323; 2006. DOI: 10.1111/J.1552-6909.2006.00045.x

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