Barriers and facilitators for physical activity during pregnancy and postpartum in women living in poverty of Mexico


Objective: To explore the perceptions of health providers and beneficiaries of the Oportunidades Program about the practice of physical activity during pregnancy and postpartum, and to identify characteristics of the counseling on the subject in the first level of health care.

Material and methods: Mixed methods study that is part of an intervention in nutrition of the Oportunidades Program . The qualitative information was collected by interview (50 women, 34 health providers) and quantitative information was obtained from a questionnaire (n = 88 women, n = 64 providers, n = 111 observation observations).

Results: Individual barriers,

  1. were documented: lack of time and social support;
  2. sociocultural: prejudice of peers and family members, and lack of instructors, and
  3. environmental: lack of safe and appropriate physical spaces.

38% of women report having received counseling on the subject versus 63.4% of providers who report having given it ( p = 0.002).

Conclusions: Provider training and promotion of physical activity are urgently needed to eliminate the prejudices associated with the issue during pregnancy and postpartum.

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