Background: The aim of this study was to understand how physical activity and sedentary behaviour levels of pregnant women with gestational diabetes in the UK have been affected by COVID-19. Methods: An online survey exploring physical activity and sedentary behaviour levels of pregnant women with gestational diabetes during COVID-19 was distributed through social media platforms. Women who had been pregnant during the COVID-19 outbreak and had gestational diabetes, were resident in the UK, were 18 years old or over and could understand written English were invited to take part. Results: A total of 724 women accessed the survey, 553 of these met the eligibility criteria and took part in the survey. Sedentary time increased for 79% of the women during the pandemic. Almost half of the women (47%) were meeting the physical activity guidelines pre COVID-19 during their pregnancy, this dropped to 23% during the COVID-19 pandemic. Fear of leaving the house due to COVID-19 was the most commonly reported reason for the decline. Significant associations were found between meeting the physical activity guidelines during COVID-19 and educational attainment, fitness equipment ownership and knowledge of how to exercise safely in pregnancy. Conclusions and implications: These results show the impact of COVID-19 on physical activity and sedentary behaviour levels and highlight the need for targeted public health initiatives as the pandemic continues and for future lockdowns. Women with gestational diabetes need to know how it is safe and beneficial to them to engage in physical activity and ways to do this from their homes if fear of leaving the house due to COVID-19 is a barrier for them. Online physical activity classes provided by certified trainers in physical activity for pregnant women may help them remain active when face-to-face appointments are reduced and limited additional resources are available.
© 2021 Hillyard et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Hillyard, M., Sinclair, M., Murphy, M., Casson, K. & Mulligan, C. 2021, 'The impact of COVID-19 on the physical activity and sedentary behaviour levels of pregnant women with gestational diabetes', PLoS ONE, 16(8), article no: e0254364. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0254364