Brooke Hebert

Supervisor: Taniya Nagpal

Project: Is exercise a priority during pregnancy?

“Research that focuses on interventions, as well as prevention, helps in understanding the specific health needs of women and children.”

There are several benefits of exercise during pregnancy for both the pregnant person and the future newborn, including reducing the risk of complications and improving delivery outcomes. Despite this, adherence to exercise recommendations in pregnancy is low. 

A factor that is related to improving adherence to behaviours like exercise is self-efficacy. Self-efficacy is defined as our confidence for doing the behaviour and it can increase if we believe the behaviour will have positive benefits and lead to meeting our priorities for our health. However, what are health priorities for pregnant individuals? And do they believe that exercise is a means to reach those priorities?   

This survey-based study will be delivered online. Eligible participants will complete an anonymous survey where they will be asked to write out their top health priorities during their pregnancy and to rank how much they believe exercising will support them in achieving those. They will also complete a pregnancy self-efficacy scale for exercise. We will be able to take a look at the list of priorities and develop a ranked list highlighting the top priorities and summarize the extent to which pregnant individuals believe exercise would be helpful. We will also test if the priorities and rank for exercise vary based on their self-efficacy.   

Findings of this research will inform future health promotion and research programs for exercise during pregnancy so we can specifically focus on priorities the population has identified.

Brooke Hebert was supervised by Taniya Nagpal and her summer studentship was funded by the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation and the Alberta Women’s Health Foundation. She is enrolled in the Bachelor of Kinesiology program.