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Low-Touch Physical Activity Intervention through Facebook in Pregnant Women

Bastyr, Meghan (2022) Low-Touch Physical Activity Intervention through Facebook in Pregnant Women. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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In the past, pregnancy was thought of as a medical condition requiring rest. Today, research has shown many health benefits of physical activity during pregnancy. This study aimed to increase physical activity in pregnant women with a translatable, low-touch social media intervention designed to address barriers to physical activity and facilitate social support from other pregnant women. Specifically, we studied whether our intervention increased social support and outcome expectations and decreased barriers to physical activity. We also examined preliminary effects, acceptance, and enjoyment of our intervention on physical activity over 8 weeks.

Ten women recruited through prenatal clinics and Facebook ads completed baseline and follow-up assessments. The women in this study were White, averaged 32+6 years old, and had a gestational age of 17.3+2.2 weeks. Along with joining a private Facebook group, objective weekly steps and active minutes were collected through a study-provided Fitbit Luxe worn by the women during waking hours. Baseline and follow-up assessments included the Pregnancy Physical Activity Questionnaire, Exercise Outcomes and Expectations Questionnaire, and the Social Support for Exercise Questionnaire. Additionally at follow-up, participants completed a program evaluation questionnaire. Paired t-tests analyzed data from pre-post questionnaires and mixed linear models evaluated changes in objective steps and activity across the study.

All participants completed the follow-up assessment. There were no significant differences comparing baseline measures to 8-week data (all p>0.05). However, potentially clinically meaningful increases were observed for social support for physical activity (from 21.1±7.2 to 25.2±9.9 points) and self-reported moderate-to-vigorous intensity activity (from 113.7±97.2 to 162.8±107.4 minutes per week, p=0.3998). Objectively-measured steps and active minutes did not change over the 8-week follow-up (p=0.954, p=0.672 respectively). The program evaluation showed high enjoyment and acceptability for Fitbit and Facebook. Participants reported that education-based posts influenced physical activity the most, but interactive posts were most enjoyable. In the future, similar studies may want to include a control group, collect data over the entire pregnancy, and consider a health coaching approach. In conclusion, this study demonstrated initial feasibility, some possibly meaningful effects, and promising information for future interventions focused on increasing physical activity in pregnant women.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Bastyr, Meghanmcb138@pitt.edumcb138
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Thesis AdvisorGibbs,
Committee MemberDavis,
Committee MemberHays,
Date: 31 August 2022
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 6 May 2022
Approval Date: 31 August 2022
Submission Date: 28 July 2022
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 60
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Health and Physical Activity
Degree: MS - Master of Science
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Fitbit, social support
Date Deposited: 31 Aug 2022 15:26
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2022 15:26


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