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