Postpartum health related quality of life: relationship to antenatal exercise practice in a Nigerian population


  • Chidiebele P. Ojukwu Department of Medical Rehabilitation, University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus, Enugu State, Nigeria
  • Adaora J. Okemuo Department of Medical Rehabilitation, University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus, Enugu State, Nigeria
  • Emelie M. Anekwu Department of Physiotherapy, Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, Nigeria
  • Obianuju G. Okeke Department of Medical Rehabilitation, University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus, Enugu State, Nigeria
  • Chioma N. Ikele Department of Medical Rehabilitation, University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus, Enugu State, Nigeria
  • Chigozie I. Uchenwoke Department of Medical Rehabilitation, University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus, Enugu State, Nigeria



Antenatal exercise, Duration, Frequency, Health related quality of life, Nigeria, Postpartum


Background: Antenatal exercise (ANE) has been reported to improve postpartum health outcomes in women. However, postpartum health related outcomes of ANE have been inconsistent in previous studies and have not been studied in a Nigerian population. This study assessed the influence of ANE on postpartum health-related quality of life (HRQOL) of Nigerian women.

Methods: 350 purposively selected women participated in this cohort study. During the last two pregnancy trimesters, participants completed a questionnaire assessing ANE practice/pattern while the Short Form (SF-36) questionnaire was used to assess HRQOL during postpartum. Data were analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics with alpha level set at 0.05.

Results: Majority (82.9%) of the women practiced ANE. Women who did not exercise showed significantly (p = 0.001) higher general health scores than those who did not. Women who exercised for <30 mins also showed significantly (p = 0.040) higher general health scores, as compared to those who exercised for ≥30 mins.  HRQOL was negatively correlated with each of practice and duration of ANE.

Conclusions: It was concluded that ANE practice and patterns did not improve postpartum HRQOL. Improved education and supervision of ANE is recommended for improved postpartum health outcomes.


Artal R, O’Toole M. Guidelines of american college of obstetricians and gynecologists for exercise during pregnancy and the postpartum period. Br J Sports Med. 2003;37(1):6-12.

ACOG Committee on Obstetrics Practice. Exercise during Pregnancy and Postpartum period: Number 267. Int J Gynecol Obstet. 2002;77:79-81.

Nascimento SL, Surita FG, Cecatti JG. Physical exercise during pregnancy: A systematic review. Curr Opin Obstet Gynecol. 2012;24(6):387-94.

Wolfe LA, Davies GAL. Canadian guidelines for exercise in pregnancy. Clin Obstet Gynecol. 2003;46(2):488-95.

Ribeiro CP, Milanez H. Knowledge, attitude and practice of women in Campinas, S˜ao Paulo, Brazil with respect to physical exercise in pregnancy: A descriptive study. Reproductive Health. 2011;8:31

Mottola MF, Ruchat SM. Exercise guidelines for women with gestational diabetes. Gestational Diabetes. 2011;339-62.

Chasen-Taber L. Physical activity and dietary behaviours associated with weight gain and impaired glucose tolerance among pregnant Latinas. Adv Nutr. 2012;3:108-18.

Mbada CE, Adebayo OE, Adeyemi AB, Arije OO, Dada OO, Akinwande OA, et al. Knowledge and attitude of Nigerian pregnant women towards antenatal exercise: A Cross-Sectional Survey. Obstet Gynecol. 2014;1-8.

Davies GAL, Wolfe LA, Mottola MF, Mac Kinnon C. Joint SOGC/CSEP clinical practice guideline: exercise in pregnancy and the postpartum period. Can J Appl Physiol. 2003;28(3):329-41.

Wadsworth P. The benefits of exercise in pregnancy. J Nurse Practitioners. 2007;3(5):333-9.

Ross LE, McLean LM. Anxiety disorders during pregnancy and postpartum period: A Systematic Review. J Clin Psychiatry. 2006;6:1285-90.

Montoya AAV, Orozco BL, Aguilar de Plata AC, Mosquera EM, Ramirez-Velez R. Aerobic exercise during pregnancy improves health related quality of life: A Randomised Trial. J Physiother. 2010;56:253-8.

Haas JS, Jackson RA, Fuentes-Afflick E, Stewart AL, Dean ML, Brawarsky P, et al. Changes in the health status of women during and after pregnancy. J Intern Med. 2005;20(1):45-51.

Gaston A, Prapavessis H. Tired, moody and pregnant? Exercise may be the answer. Health Psychol. 2013;28(12):1353-69.

Mahishale AV, Maria-Vlorica LPA, Pati HS. Effect of postnatal exercises on quality of life in immediate postpartum mothers: a clinical trial. J South Asian Fed Obstet Gynecol. 2014;6(1):11-4.

Bahadoran P, Tirkesh F, Oreizi HR. Association between physical activity 3-12 months after delivery and postpartum well-being. Iran J Nurs Midwifery Res. 2014;19(1):82.

Blum JW, Beaudoin CM, Caton-Lemos L. Physical activity patterns and maternal well-being in postpartum women. Matern Child Health J. 2004;8:163-9.

Strøm M, Mortensen EL, Halldorson TI, Osterdal ML, Olsen SF. Leisure-time physical activity in pregnancy and risk of postpartum depression: a prospective study in a large national birth cohort. J Clin Psychiatry. 2009;70(12):1707-14.

Ersek JL, Huber LRB. Physical Activity Prior to and During Pregnancy and Risk of Postpartum Depressive Symptoms. J Obstet Gynecol Neonatal Nurs. 2009;38(5):556-66.

Demissie Z, Siega-Riz AM, Evenson KR, Herrin, AH, Dole N, Gaynes BN. Physical activity during pregnancy and postpartum depressive symptoms. Midwifery. 2013;29(2):139-47.

Campolong K, Jenkins S, Clark MM, Borowski K., Nelson N, Moore KM, et al. The association of exercise during pregnancy with trimester-specific and postpartum quality of life and depressive symptoms in a cohort of healthy pregnant women. Arch Womens Ment Health. 2017;1-10.

Vernon MM, Young-Hyman D, Looney SW. Maternal stress, physical activity and body mass index during new mothers’ first year postpartum. Women Health. 2010;50:544-62.

Poyatos-Leon R, Garcia-Hermoso A, Sanabria-Martinez G, Alvarez-Bueno C, Caveno-Redondo I, Martinez-Vizcaino V. Effects of exercise based intervention on postpartum depression: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Birth. 2017;44:200-8.

Songøygard KM, Stafne SN, Evensen KAI, Salvesen KÅ, Vik T, MØRkved SIV. Does exercise during pregnancy prevent postnatal depression? Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2012;91(1):62-7.

Mbada E, Adebayo O, Taofeek O, Faremi F, Oginni M, Ogundele A, et al. Practice and pattern of antenatal and postnatal exercises among Nigerian women: a cross-sectional study. Int J Women’s Health Reprod Sc. 2015;3(2):93-8.

Ware JE, Sherbourne CD. The MOS 36-Item Short -Form Health Survey (SF-36®): I. Conceptual framework and item selection. Med Care. 1992;30(6):473-83.

Ware JE, Snow KK., Kosinski M, Gandek, B. SF-36® Health Survey Manual 1993.

Mc Horney CA, Ware JE, Lu JFR, Sherbourne CD. The MOS 36- Item Short-Form health-Survey (SF-36®): III. Tests of data quality, scaling assumptions and reliability across diverse patient groups. Med Care. 1994;32(4):40-66.

Adeniyi AF, Ogwumike OO, Osinike CI. Physical activity and energy expenditure: findings from the Ibadan Pregnant Women's Survey. ‎Afr J Reprod Health. 2014;18(2):117-26.

Mukona D, Munjanja SP, Zvinavashe M, Stray-Pederson B. Physical activity in pregnant women in Africa: A systematic review. Int J Nurs Midwifery. 2016;8(4):28-34.

Arizabaleta AVM, Buitrago LO, de Plata ACA, Escudero MM, Ramírez-Vélez R. Aerobic exercise during pregnancy improves health-related quality of life: a randomised trial. J Physiother. 2010;56(4):253-8.






Original Research Articles