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Matern Child Health J. 2004 Sep;8(3):163-9.

Physical activity patterns and maternal well-being in postpartum women.

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  • 1College of Nursing and Health Professions, University of Southern Maine, Gorham, Maine 04038-1032, USA. jwblum@usm.maine.edu



To examine changes in activity prepregnancy to postpartum; examine postpartum activity and sociodemographic predictors of maternal well-being; and, examine maternal well-being in subjects on the basis of sport/exercise activity prepregnancy to postpartum.


Ninety-one postpartum women completed a Kaiser Physical Activity Survey (KPAS) Ainsworth BE, Sternfeld B, Richardson MT, Jackson K. Evaluation of the Kaiser Physical Activity Survey in women. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2000; 32:1327-38. and the Lederman Postpartum Questionnaire (PPQ) Lederman RP, Weingarten CT, Lederman E. Postpartum self-evaluation questionaire: Measures of maternal adaptation. In: Raff BS, Carrol P, editors. Perinatal parental behaviour: Nursing research and implications for newborn health. New York: Alan R. Liss, 1981:201-31. Subjects recalled activity prepregnancy and postpartum for the KPAS indexes that included household/care giving (HC), active living habits (AL), occupation (0), and sports/exercise (SE). The PPQ has seven well-being subscales.


Subjects with older infants or no other children increased HC and decreased O prepregnancy to postpartum compared to subjects with younger infants or > or =1 other child. Predictors of the variance in the PPQ subscales included SE and AL (21% in subscale one), SE (6.0% in subscale two), HC (5.3% in subscale three), socioeconomic status (19.7% in subscale four), O (5.0% in subscale five), education (5.2% in subscale seven). Subjects who maintained or increased SE showed better well-being as compared to subjects who reported no SE or decreased SE prepregnancy to postpartum.


In this group of women, subjects with older infants or no other children reported higher HC and lower O prepregnancy to postpartum. Postpartum SE, education, and socioeconomic status were predictors of maternal well-being. In general, better maternal well-being was found among subjects maintaining or increasing SE compared to no SE or decreased SE prepregnancy to postpartum. Support from partner/husband, family, and friends were significant factors in maintaining or increasing SE.

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