Perceived Exercise among Pregnant Women Attending Antenatal Clinic in University of Uyo Teaching Hospital


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1.1  Background to the study

During pregnancy the body experience dramatic physiological and psychological changes which is natural and to remain healthy, the pregnant woman must indulge in regular physical activities call exercise. The professional health workers need to carefully design physical exercise programme to enable the pregnant woman remain healthy. In country like Brazil, her Ministry of Health stipulates that in addition to consultation and prenatal care, breathing and relaxation techniques should be taught for better control of  labour and general well-being . Different exercise programmes are available for pregnant mothers; these exercises include aerobic exercises such as dancing, walking and swimming. Another type is Kegel exercise; this involves tightening of pelvic muscles to control urine flow.

Exercise has been known scientifically and physically to promote blood circulation to the mother and the foetal vital organs such as the brain, liver and heart etc; exercise also improve pelvic bone and muscle tone thus enhancing normal safe delivery of baby during labour . Exercise is an activity requiring physical effort done to improve health, it is a physical or mental activity that is done to stay healthy or become stronger. Exercise session in antenatal clinic should be designed to stimulate interest in the physical changes occurring to promote body awareness and to facilitate physical and mental relaxation.

Haggard states that women who practiced more than one type of sports or leisure time physical activity had 24% of reduced risk of preterm delivery, which compared with women with no sports activity. It must be noted that before asking a group to perform antenatal exercise on the floor, the correct way of getting down and up again must be demonstrated side-lying in the coma position with pillows under arm and knee is usually comfortable position in pregnancy. The pregnant mothers should get up from lying by bending the knees, rolling on to one side then using the arms to push up into a sitting or kneeling position to prevent strains on both the back and the abdominal muscles.

Muscles of good tone are more elastic and will regain their former length more efficiently and more quickly after being stretched than muscles of poor tone. Exercising the abdominal muscles antenatal will ensure a speed to normal postnatal, effective pushing in labour, and the lessening of back ache in pregnancy.  Exercise during pregnancy are of utmost concern for most medical caregiver, educators, the general public as well as pregnant mothers and their family.

Regular and moderate exercise in early pregnancies is healthy for the mothers and their babies. Mother’s health physiotherapist is the ideal choice to teach the physical skills required or parenthood.17 However in areas where there is no physiotherapist available, midwives may find they responsible for physical preparation as well as parent education in antenatal classes or as one-to-one basis.



1.2 Statement of the problem

Reports have shown that Nigerian woman has a 1-in-23 risk of death from causes that are related to pregnancy and delivery. This is higher than the general 1-in-31 maternal death risk for pregnant women throughout the sub- Saharan Africa (WHO/UNICEF/UNFPA/World Bank, 2008). Akwa Ibom State Ministry of Health (2010) indicated that Akwa Ibom State records one death out of every 100 live birth in pregnancy related cases; this makes Akwa Ibom State one of the regions with the highest maternal mortality rate in the world.

Merson, Black and Mills (2006) listed the direct causes of maternal mortality which includes hypertensive disorders of pregnancy (preeclampsia), gestational diabetes, obstructed and prolonged labour. ACOG (2002) recommends that prenatal exercise can reduce the rates of these direct causes of high maternal morbidity and mortality. Despite the numerous benefits that are linked with prenatal exercise, the researchers observed that many pregnant women especially in Akwa Ibom State still do not participate in the exercise.

Adding to the fact that prenatal exercise is not publicized, and also that it is termed a taboo in some places. This led to increased rate of maternal and foetal mortality especially in Akwa Ibom State. Therefore, the general purpose of this study was to determine the perceived benefits of prenatal exercise among pregnant women attending antenatal clinic at the University Of Uyo Teaching Hospital, Uyo (UUTH) and levels of perception of benefits of prenatal exercise among these participants based on age and level of education.


1.3 Objectives of the study

The main objectives of this study is to investigate the Perceived Exercise among Pregnant Women Attending Antenatal Clinic in University of Uyo Teaching Hospital. The sub-objectives are the following:

  1. The perceived exercises which pregnant women going for antenatal care can engage on.
  2. To educate individual on the positive effects of exercises in child bearing.
  3. To identify the importance of the exercises to pregnant women especially during delivery.


1.4 Research Questions

For effective discovery of data to be ensured in this study, the following research questions are formulated to guide the researcher.

  1. What is the meaning of exercise and recreations
  2. Is there any importance of exercise in pregnancy
  3. How can exercise in pregnant women be positively improved
  4. How can exercise enhance in safe delivery.


1.5 significance of the study

Exercise during pregnancy has the following significance;

  1. It enhances weight loss in obese pregnant women
  2. It facilitates labour helps in delivery
  3. It provides information and education to the pregnant women and all women of child bearing age.
  4. It brings about the relief of fatigue, swelling and further pains.
  5. It can also help in guiding of health personals in the suitable exercises which a pregnant women can engage

1.6 scope of the study

This study focuses on the perceived exercises and other recreational activities among pregnant women attending antenatal clinic.

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