The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on physical activity and sedentary behavior during pregnancy: a prospective study

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Exercise, Pregnancy, Physical activity assessment, COVID-19, Epidemiology



Prior studies evaluating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on pregnancy physical activity (PA) have largely been limited to internet-based surveys not validated for use in pregnancy.


This study used data from the Pregnancy PA Questionnaire Validation study conducted from 2019–2021. A prospective cohort of 50 pregnant women completed the Pregnancy PA Questionnaire (PPAQ), validated for use in pregnancy, in early, mid, and late pregnancy and wore an ActiGraph GT3X-BT for seven days. COVID-19 impact was defined using a fixed date of onset (March 13, 2020) and a self-reported date. Multivariable linear mixed effects regression models adjusted for age, early pregnancy BMI, gestational age, and parity.


Higher sedentary behavior (14.2 MET-hrs/wk, 95% CI: 2.3, 26.0) and household/caregiving PA (34.4 MET-hrs/wk, 95% CI: 8.5, 60.3 and 25.9 MET-hrs/wk, 95% CI: 0.9, 50.9) and lower locomotion (-8.0 h/wk, 95% CI: -15.7, -0.3) and occupational PA (-34.5 MET-hrs/wk, 95% CI: -61.9, -7.0 and -30.6 MET-hrs/wk, 95% CI: -51.4, -9.8) was observed in middle and late pregnancy, respectively, after COVID-19 vs. before. There was no impact on steps/day or meeting American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists guidelines.


Proactive approaches for the promotion of pregnancy PA during pandemic-related restrictions are critically needed.