Options in Pregnancy to Increase ActiveLy Sitting (OPALS) Feasibility Study

Caterina Fazzi, Fiona C Denison, David H Saunders, Jane E Norman, Rebecca M Reynolds

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


BACKGROUND: A negative association between obesity and pregnancy outcomes has been described, as well as between time sedentary and pregnancy outcomes. Most interventions based on physical activity involving obese pregnant women have failed in improving pregnancy outcomes. Exchanging time spent in sedentary activities with time spent in light-intensity activities, performed in a home-based setting, might help morbidly obese pregnant women. We aimed to assess the feasibility of an exercise intervention.

METHODS: An exercise intervention for morbidly obese pregnant women was designed involving morbidly obese pregnant women. Pregnant women with BMI ≥ 40 kg/m² with 20 or less weeks of gestation were invited to take part in the OPALS Feasibility Study. A home-based approach was employed. Participants were asked to perform the intervention for at least 12 weeks, and to register their performance in an activity diary. After the intervention, participants were asked to return the activity diary and answer a feasibility questionnaire.

RESULTS: In the intervention, 28 participants took part. Six women completed the intervention for 12 weeks or more. All declared they intended to keep on doing the intervention. All women reported that the exercises made them feel better.

CONCLUSION: Empowering, and involving morbidly obese pregnant women in taking care of themselves and giving them realistic tasks to do on their own and around their environment helps to increase commitment, as does avoiding the effect of their own weight whilst exercising. A 20% of compliance was observed in this study, which might be explained by the difficulties that pregnancy and excess weight mean. Thus, for future studies, we suggest adding a supervision plan to increase that number.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5673
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 26 May 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: This study was supported by the MRC Centre Grant (MRC G1002033).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Exercise
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Obesity, Morbid
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications/prevention & control
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Sitting Position


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