The purpose of this study was to examine the association between mental health status (i.e. depressed mood and pregnancy-related worries) and objectively measured physical activity levels in obese pregnant women from seven European countries.
Baseline data from the vitamin D and lifestyle intervention for the prevention of gestational diabetes mellitus (DALI) study were used. Time spent in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and sedentary behaviour was measured with accelerometers. Depressed mood was measured with the WHO well-being index (WHO-5) and pregnancy-related worries with the Cambridge Worry Scale (CWS). In addition, socio-demographic characteristics, lifestyle factors, and perceptions and attitude regarding weight management and physical activity were measured. Linear regression analyses were performed to assess the association of mental health status with MVPA and sedentary behaviour.
A total of 98 obese pregnant women from Austria, Belgium, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Spain and the Netherlands were included. Women had a mean age of 31.6 ± 5.8 years, a pre-pregnancy BMI of 34.1 ± 4.3 kg/m2, and were on average 15.4 ± 2.8 weeks pregnant. WHO-5 scores indicative of depressed mood (<50) were reported by 27.1 % of the women and most frequently endorsed pregnancy-related worries pertained to own and the baby’s health. Women with good well-being spent 85 % more time in MVPA compared to women with a depressed mood (P = 0.03). No differences in MVPA levels were found for women with no, some, or many pregnancy worries. Depressed mood and pregnancy-related worries were not associated with sedentary behaviour.
These findings suggest that in pregnant women who are obese, a depressed mood, but not pregnancy-related worries, may be associated with less physical activity. The combined risk of poor mental health and low physical activity levels makes women vulnerable for pregnancy complications. Whether a depressed mood may be a barrier for improving physical activity warrants further study.||