Refining an Intervention to Increase Physical Activity in Pregnant Black Women

Eboh, Relicious, Dawn Misra, and Carmen Giurgescu

African American women in the United States are more likely to have infants born preterm compared with their white counterparts. Premature birth is birth that occurs less than 37 weeks of gestation. Research has shown that an increase in physical activity may be one way to help lower the number of women who deliver their infants prematurely. Black women are less likely to be physically active than white women. The purpose of this study was to refine a walking program entitled “The Women’s Walking Program” to meet the needs of pregnant women who are African American. We examined each women’s experience with physical activity through a self-reported questionnaire and one-on-one interview in a midwifery clinic at Wayne State University Health Center in Detroit, Michigan (N=14) from August 2016-November 2016. Women were deemed physically active if they reported exercising for 150 or more minutes per week. Each woman was given different interview questions that tailored to their report of being physically active or inactive. Seventy-eight percent of participants categorized that they were physically inactive. All fourteen participants believed that women should exercise while pregnant and would be interested in participating in a program that would help women participate in physical activity while pregnant. With the small sample size, our results suggest that African American pregnant women would be more motivated to exercise with social support from medical professionals, family, friends, and other pregnant women.