Physical activity in pregnant women with Class III obesity: A qualitative exploration of attitudes and behaviours

F C Denison, Z Weir, H Carver, J E Norman, R M Reynolds

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

24 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: To explore the barriers and facilitators to physical activity and lifestyle interventions in pregnant women with Class III obesity (body mass index >40 kg/m(2)).

DESIGN: Qualitative study using in-depth, semi-structure interviews framed by the Theory of Planned Behaviour. Semi-structured, in-depth interviews were conducted using a topic guide. Data analysis was undertaken using a Framework Approach and was informed by the theory of planned behaviour. Recruitment and analysis continued until data saturation was reached.

SETTING: Participants were recruited from an antenatal clinic for women with Class III obesity.

PARTICIPANTS: Pregnant women (n=13) with Class III obesity.

MEASUREMENTS AND OUTCOMES: Three major themes emerged from the data analysis: having a healthy lifestyle awareness, complex barriers to lifestyle changes and having personalised solutions to promote healthy lifestyle. Women were aware of the benefits of physical activity during pregnancy but had complex barriers to engaging with activity.

CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: future lifestyle interventions for women with Class III in pregnancy should take into account individual, societal and support barriers towards weight management and lifestyle choices in pregnancy. Programs that provide personalised support which are sensitive to the specific physical and psychological needs of women with Class III obesity which focus on the benefits and safety of physical activity for both mother and baby may be more likely to be successful. Further research is needed to explore the feasibility and acceptability of tailored programs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1163-7
Number of pages5
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2015

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


  • Body Mass Index
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Healthy Lifestyle
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Obesity, Morbid/psychology
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications/psychology
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Prenatal Care/methods
  • Qualitative Research
  • Social Support


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