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Original article
peer-reviewed

Rowers’ Self-Reported Behaviors, Attitudes, and Safety Concerns Related to Exercise, Training, and Competition During Pregnancy



Abstract

Background

The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology notes that pregnant athletes require more supervision due to their involvement in strenuous training schedules throughout pregnancy. Currently, rowing is not mentioned in the guidelines despite its increasing popularity, high cardiovascular demands, and risk for abdominal trauma.

Methods

This study aimed to elicit information from competitive female rowers regarding exercise, training, and competition during pregnancy. We administered a survey consisting of 122 items to female Masters rowers in the United States, aged 21 to 49 years, from June to December 2013.

Results

A total of 224 recreational and elite rowers met the inclusion criteria. Pregnant rowers self-reported high levels of exercise engagement: 85.2% (n/N = 98/115) exercised during any past pregnancy; exercise adherence decreased throughout pregnancy with 51.3%, 42.4%, and 15.7% meeting and/or exceeding national guidelines during the first, second, and third trimesters, respectively. Rowers were significantly (p < 0.001) more likely to state that an activity at a specified intensity and trimester was unsafe if they were younger, had less rowing experience, or were nulliparous. Decreased perceived rowing safety was associated with on-water training, higher intensity exercise, competition, and increasing gestational age. Primary safety concerns were the risk of oar-induced abdominal trauma and physiological effects due to high intensities required by the sport. Novel barriers to exercise in pregnancy included guilt towards the team and a mental barrier due to decreased performance. Healthcare providers are the number one information source for rowers regarding exercise during pregnancy.

Conclusion

Pregnant rowers are a relevant obstetrics population and have barriers and sport-specific safety concerns not previously identified in the literature. Rowers consider exercising in pregnancy to be important and struggle to meet exercise guidelines like the general population, indicating the need for healthcare providers to provide prenatal and antenatal education and interventions to support exercise during pregnancy even amongst athletes.



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Original article
peer-reviewed

Rowers’ Self-Reported Behaviors, Attitudes, and Safety Concerns Related to Exercise, Training, and Competition During Pregnancy


Author Information

Ashley Franklin Corresponding Author

Alaska Family Medicine Residency

Joanna Mishtal

Department of Anthropology, University of Central Florida

Teresa Johnson

Office of Assessment and Evaluation, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Judith Simms-Cendan

University of Central Florida College of Medicine


Ethics Statement and Conflict of Interest Disclosures

Human subjects: Consent was obtained by all participants in this study. University of Central Florida College of Medicine Institutional Review Board issued approval SBE-13-09282. Animal subjects: This study did not involve animal subjects or tissue. Conflicts of interest: The authors have declared that no conflicts of interest exist.

Acknowledgements

This research was supported by the University of Central Florida College of Medicine (UCF COM) and the UCF Department of Anthropology and funded by the Focused Inquiry and Research Experience at UCF COM. We thank members of the University of Central Florida College of Medicine for valuable comments and suggestions. We also express our extreme gratitude to all of the rowing teams and organizations who helped make this project a reality and to the many women who agreed to participate in this study.


Original article
peer-reviewed

Rowers’ Self-Reported Behaviors, Attitudes, and Safety Concerns Related to Exercise, Training, and Competition During Pregnancy


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Original article
peer-reviewed

Rowers’ Self-Reported Behaviors, Attitudes, and Safety Concerns Related to Exercise, Training, and Competition During Pregnancy

  • Author Information
    Ashley Franklin Corresponding Author

    Alaska Family Medicine Residency

    Joanna Mishtal

    Department of Anthropology, University of Central Florida

    Teresa Johnson

    Office of Assessment and Evaluation, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

    Judith Simms-Cendan

    University of Central Florida College of Medicine


    Ethics Statement and Conflict of Interest Disclosures

    Human subjects: Consent was obtained by all participants in this study. University of Central Florida College of Medicine Institutional Review Board issued approval SBE-13-09282. Animal subjects: This study did not involve animal subjects or tissue. Conflicts of interest: The authors have declared that no conflicts of interest exist.

    Acknowledgements

    This research was supported by the University of Central Florida College of Medicine (UCF COM) and the UCF Department of Anthropology and funded by the Focused Inquiry and Research Experience at UCF COM. We thank members of the University of Central Florida College of Medicine for valuable comments and suggestions. We also express our extreme gratitude to all of the rowing teams and organizations who helped make this project a reality and to the many women who agreed to participate in this study.


    Article Information

    Published: August 01, 2017

    DOI

    10.7759/cureus.1534

    Cite this article as:

    Franklin A, Mishtal J, Johnson T, et al. (August 01, 2017) Rowers’ Self-Reported Behaviors, Attitudes, and Safety Concerns Related to Exercise, Training, and Competition During Pregnancy. Cureus 9(8): e1534. doi:10.7759/cureus.1534

    Publication history

    Received by Cureus: January 04, 2017
    Peer review began: March 10, 2017
    Peer review concluded: June 29, 2017
    Published: August 01, 2017

    Copyright

    © Copyright 2017
    Franklin et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License CC-BY 3.0., which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

    License

    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.

Abstract

Background

The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology notes that pregnant athletes require more supervision due to their involvement in strenuous training schedules throughout pregnancy. Currently, rowing is not mentioned in the guidelines despite its increasing popularity, high cardiovascular demands, and risk for abdominal trauma.

Methods

This study aimed to elicit information from competitive female rowers regarding exercise, training, and competition during pregnancy. We administered a survey consisting of 122 items to female Masters rowers in the United States, aged 21 to 49 years, from June to December 2013.

Results

A total of 224 recreational and elite rowers met the inclusion criteria. Pregnant rowers self-reported high levels of exercise engagement: 85.2% (n/N = 98/115) exercised during any past pregnancy; exercise adherence decreased throughout pregnancy with 51.3%, 42.4%, and 15.7% meeting and/or exceeding national guidelines during the first, second, and third trimesters, respectively. Rowers were significantly (p < 0.001) more likely to state that an activity at a specified intensity and trimester was unsafe if they were younger, had less rowing experience, or were nulliparous. Decreased perceived rowing safety was associated with on-water training, higher intensity exercise, competition, and increasing gestational age. Primary safety concerns were the risk of oar-induced abdominal trauma and physiological effects due to high intensities required by the sport. Novel barriers to exercise in pregnancy included guilt towards the team and a mental barrier due to decreased performance. Healthcare providers are the number one information source for rowers regarding exercise during pregnancy.

Conclusion

Pregnant rowers are a relevant obstetrics population and have barriers and sport-specific safety concerns not previously identified in the literature. Rowers consider exercising in pregnancy to be important and struggle to meet exercise guidelines like the general population, indicating the need for healthcare providers to provide prenatal and antenatal education and interventions to support exercise during pregnancy even amongst athletes.



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Ashley Franklin, M.D., Resident Physician

Alaska Family Medicine Residency

For correspondence:
ashley.franklin@providence.org

Joanna Mishtal

Department of Anthropology, University of Central Florida

Teresa Johnson

Office of Assessment and Evaluation, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Judith Simms-Cendan, None

University of Central Florida College of Medicine

Ashley Franklin, M.D., Resident Physician

Alaska Family Medicine Residency

For correspondence:
ashley.franklin@providence.org

Joanna Mishtal

Department of Anthropology, University of Central Florida

Teresa Johnson

Office of Assessment and Evaluation, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Judith Simms-Cendan, None

University of Central Florida College of Medicine