Perceived Exercise And Recreation Among Pregnant Women Attending Antenatal Clinic

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Perceived Exercise And Recreation Among Pregnant Women Attending Antenatal Clinic


This study assessed knowledge and attitude of pregnant women towards antenatal exercises (ANEx). Methods. The cross-sectional study recruited 189 pregnant women from six selected antenatal clinics in Ile-Ife, South-West, Nigeria. Data were obtained on maternal characteristics, knowledge, and attitude towards ANEx. Results. Relaxation and breathing (59.8%), back care (51.3%), and muscle strengthening (51.3%) exercises were the most commonly known ANEx. Prevention of back pain risk (75.9%) and excess weight gain (69.1%) were perceived as benefits, while lower extremities swelling (31.8%) and extreme weight gain or loss (30.7%) were considered as contraindications to ANEx. 15.8% of the respondents had negative attitude towards ANEx resulting from insufficient information on exercise (83.3%) and tiredness (70.0%). Age significantly influences knowledge about contraindications to ANEx (? = 0.001), while attitude was influenced by age and occupation, respectively (?< 0.05). There was significant association between attitude and knowledge about benefits and contraindications to ANEx (?< 0.05). Conclusion. A majority of Nigerian pregnant women demonstrated inadequate knowledge but had positive attitude towards ANEx. Knowledge about benefits and contraindications to ANEx significantly influenced the attitude towards exercise in pregnancy

Table Of Contents

Preliminary Page(s)

  • Title page
  • Certification page
  • Dedication
  • Acknowledgement
  • Abstract
  • Table of content

Chapter One


  • 1.1 Background Of The Study
  • 1.2 Problem Statement
  • 1.3 Study Objectives
  • 1.4 Significance Of The Study
  • 1.5 Study Questions/Hypotheses
  • 1.6 Scope And Limitation Of The Study
  • 1.7 Definition Of Terms

Chapter Two

Review Of Related And Relevant Literature

  • 2.1 Introduction

Chapter Three

Research Methodology

  • 3.1 Research Design
  • 3.2 Study Area
  • 3.3 Sources Of Data
  • 3.4 Population Of The Study
  • 3.5 Sample Size Determination
  • 3.6 Instrumentation
  • 3.7 Reliability And Validity Of Instrument
  • 3.8 Method Of Data Analysis

Chapter Four

Data Presentation, Analysis And Interpretation

  • 4.1 Data Presentation
  • 4.2 Data Analysis
  • 4.3 Data Interpretation

Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusion And Recommendation

  • 5.1 Summary
  • 5.2 Conclusion
  • 5.3 Recommendation
  • References
  • Appendix

Chapter One


1.1 Background of the study

During pregnancy the body experience dramatic physiological and psychological changes which is natural and to remain healthy, the pregnant woman must indulge in regular physical activities call exercise.1 The professional health workers need to carefully design physical exercise programme to enable the pregnant woman remain healthy. In country like Brazil, her Ministry of Health stipulates that in addition to consultation and prenatal care, breathing and relaxation techniques should be taught for better control of labour and general well-being (2). Different exercise programmes are available for pregnant mothers; these exercises include aerobic exercises such as dancing, walking and swimming. Another type is Kegel exercise; this involves tightening of pelvic muscles to control urine flow (3).

Exercise has been known scientifically and physically to promote blood circulation to the mother and the foetal vital organs such as the brain, liver and heart etc; exercise also improve pelvic bone and muscle tone thus enhancing normal safe delivery of baby during labour (5). Exercise is an activity requiring physical effort done to improve health, it is a physical or mental activity that is done to stay healthy or become stronger. Exercise session in antenatal clinic should be designed to stimulate interest in the physical changes occurring to promote body awareness and to facilitate physical and mental relaxation.

Heggard states that women who practiced more than one type of sports or leisure time physical activity had 24% of reduced risk of preterm delivery, which compared with women with no sports activity (12). It must be noted that before asking a group to perform antenatal exercise on the floor, the correct way of getting down and up again must be demonstrated side-lying in the coma position with pillows under arm and knee is usually comfortable position in pregnancy. The pregnant mothers should get up from lying by bending the knees, rolling on to one side then using the arms to push up into a sitting or kneeling position to prevent strains on both the back and the abdominal muscles. Muscles of good tone are more elastic and will regain their former length more efficiently and more quickly after being stretched than muscles of poor tone. Exercising the abdominal muscles antenatally will ensure a speed to normal postnatally, effective pushing in labour, and the lessening of back ache in pregnancy (13). Exercise during pregnancy are of utmost concern for most medical care giver, educators, the general public as well as pregnant mothers and their family (14). Regular and moderate exercise in early pregnancies is healthy for the mothers and their babies (7,15,16). Mother’s health physiotherapist is the ideal choice to teach the physical skills required or parenthood.17 However in areas where there is no physiotherapist available, midwives may find themselves responsible for physical preparation as well as parent education in antenatal classes or as one-to-one basis (5).

1.2 Statement of the problem

Prenatal exercise is of benefit to every pregnant mother. Exercise can reduce the length of labour, shorten the recovery time and even help with post-partum weight management (5). The physiotherapists in the hospital always come to the clinic as early as possible but they usually meet only few pregnant mothers because they come late to the clinic for the exercise as they see little or no need for prenatal exercise. The purpose of this study is to study how pregnant mothers perceive usefulness of antenatal exercise as it is being performed in the antenatal clinics.

There is need to find a way to change the perception of pregnant women about antenatal clinic through training, seminars and health talks on important of exercises in pregnancy and antenatal clinics.

1.3 Objective of the study

The objective of the study is to research the perception of exercise and recreation among pregnant women attending antenatal clinic.

1.4 Research Questions

  1. What is the meaning of exercise and recreation?
  2. What is the importance of exercise in pregnant women?
  3. How can perception of pregnant women about exercise during pregnancy be positively improved?

1.5 Significance of the study

Exercise during pregnancy has the following importance:

  • Fast labour.
  • Weight loss in obese pregnant women.
  • Relief of fatigue, swelling and back pain.

Therefore, this study will help in educating pregnant women on the importance of exercise during pregnancy, which has great advantage on the their health.

1.6 Significance of the Study

The outcome of this study would be significant to women of child-bearing age in Nigeria in general in the following ways:

  1. The findings of this study would provide information on the care of maternal health of women of reproductive age through regular exercises ( exercises in this case).
  2. The findings of this study would help policy makers and the health sector to understand problems militating against maternal health among women of child-bearing age in Ile-ife south west Nigeria State and provide a way forward via regular exercises.
  3. It would provide a basis for further research to other interested researchers. Also, the findings of this study would contribute to existing knowledge on the effect of regular exercises on maternal health of women of reproductive age; knowledge and awareness level.

1.7 Scope of the study

The study focus on the Perception of exercise and recreation among pregnant women attending antenatal clinic.

Chapter Five

Conclusion And Recommendation


Safe maternity with improved neonatal outcomes is predicated on proper antenatal care services. Exercise has become a fundamental aspect of women’s lives and an important constituent of antenatal care. However, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists [3] recommended that pregnant women can exercise moderately for 30minutes on most days of the week. In accordance with these recommendations, irrespective of the pregnant woman’s physical fitness level, exercise should below-impact, moderate-intensity, and regular. A majority of Nigerian pregnant women demonstrated in adequate knowledge about antenatal exercises. However,the women had positive attitude towards exercise. Knowledge about benefit of and contraindication to antenatal exercise significantly influenced the attitude towards exercise in pregnancy


Based on the findings and conclusions, the research hereby recommend the following:

  1. Provision of more health facilities to provide antenatal consultancy services for child bearing mothers.
  2. There should be an organized transportation system from the pregnant women coming from far rural places on a fixed date to the service centers.
  3. There should be a mobile antenatal clinic for mothers who cannot come to centers.
  4. The charges on services provided should be reviewed downward to make it available for pregnant women who cannot afford high charges.
  5. There should be meaningful incentives as regards those that attend antenatal services to the point of delivery. Incentives like provision of gifts like baby milk and cloths, free child delivery etc.
  6. More trained medical personnel should be recruited.
  7. Drugs should be made available and at affordable prices to the pregnant women

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