Horton, LaShawn

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Background: Physical Activity (PA) during pregnancy is important to maintain optimal maternal and neonatal health. Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM) requires close monitoring during pregnancy due to the health risk it can cause to mother and fetus. It is evident that PA can help improve maternal health outcomes to positively offer overall wellness throughout the pregnancy.

Objective: The purpose of this Quality Improvement Project (QIP) is to evaluate the impact of PA education on PA implementation during pregnancy and improve clinical practice for healthcare providers to introduce PA education during prenatal care per ACOG and CESP guidelines.

Method: This quality improvement project administered pre-and post-quantitative Pregnancy Physical Activity Questionnaires (PPAQ) within a timeframe of 4 weeks. The population seen in the practice were mostly African Americans and Caucasian Americans from ages 15 to 40 years old. PA education was offered to all study participants from gestational ages 8 to 28 weeks. PA education was given after the distribution of the pre-PPAQ. Interventional phase was done during week two and three, at week four the post-PPAQ was distributed and a six-question survey to evaluate the increment of PA during the 4 weeks.

Results: The mean and standard deviation of each metric were calculated for both the pretest and posttest measures. The results showed that the mean total activity score significantly decreased from pretest (M = 287.58, SD = 218.10) to posttest (M = 196.53, SD = 113.18), t(11) = 2.61, p = .023. Comparably, the mean total light intensity score significantly decreased from pretest (M = 270.42, SD = 222.20) to posttest (M = 180.23, SD = 111.83), t(11) = 2.36, p = .036. In contrast, there were no significant changes in the mean scores for sedentary behavior, light intensity, moderate intensity, vigorous activity, house activity, occupational activity, sports, transportation, or inactivity between the pretest and posttest measures. Therefore, the participants' total PA levels and total light intensity levels significantly decreased over time, while their levels of sedentary behavior and other types of PA remained relatively stable.

Conclusion: The results of the quality improvement project indicate that providing PA education could be beneficial for pregnant women. The provision of PA education was found to improve receptiveness and provide important information on the implementation of PA using gold standard guidelines during pregnancy. However, further research with larger sample sizes is needed to validate these findings.

Key Words: Pregnancy, Gestational Diabetes Mellitus, Physical activity, Handout education