Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Lox, Curt

Degree Name

M.S. Ed. (Master of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Physical Education


Pregnancy--Psychological aspects; Exercise for pregnant women; Pregnancy--Psychological aspects


Research has suggested that exercise can be useful in reducing anxiety levels and improving body image. For this reason, one can speculate as to the effect exercise might have on psychological changes accompanying pregnancy. The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of prenatal exercise and non-exercise classes on pregnancy-induced anxiety and body esteem changes during pregnancy. Subjects included 35 multiparas and primiparas with a mean age of 30.29 years, all in the second or third trimester of pregnancy. It was hypothesized that, although both prenatal exercise classes and childbirth education classes offer education about pregnancy and social support from peers and health professionals, the variable of exercise would result in greater reduction in pregnancy-induced anxiety and increases in body esteem when compared with nonexercise childbirth education classes. Measures included administration of the Pregnancy Anxiety Scale (PAS), and Body Esteem Scale (BES) on the first and last days of a 6-week Prenatal Aquatic Exercise program and a 4 week Childbirth Education (non-exercise) program Results indicated non-significant main effects (alpha <0.05) and no interaction for time and group in either pregnancy-induced anxiety and body esteem The PAS was determined to have a poor degree of internal consistency as a prospective measure. The BES demonstrated a high degree of internal consistency. Findings suggest the need for further investigation of the reliability of the PAS as a prospective scale, and clarification of exercise, anxiety, and body image relationships in pregnant women.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [59]-62)


71 pages




Northern Illinois University

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