Background

Adequate physical activity levels, measured by accelerometer, in pregnant adults are related to better outcomes for mother and child. Accelerometry feasibility has not been reported in pregnant adolescents, a group at high-risk for depression and excess gestational weight gain. We piloted feasibility of accelerometers in pregnant adolescents and explored associations with depression and BMI.

Methods

Participants were recruited from a multidisciplinary teen pregnancy clinic. Physical activity was assessed with wrist-worn GT3-X accelerometers to characterize moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and sedentary time using Freedson cut-points. Depression was assessed with the Edinburgh Perinatal Depression Scale. Pre-pregnancy BMI was calculated from self-reported weight/height, and first-trimester BMI was determined from measured weight/height. Feasibility of valid wear was described as median sample wear time ≥4:7 days of ≥10 hrs/day. Independent samples t-tests compared characteristics of those with/without valid wear. Correlations of physical activity with depression and BMI were described.

Results

We enrolled 33 pregnant 15-19y olds (36% Hispanic, 33% non-Hispanic Black) in their first-trimester (14±2 gestational weeks).Median days of valid wear was 5:7 days, but only 59% met criteria for valid wear. Those without valid wear reported greater pre-pregnancy BMI (29±7 v 24±5kg/m2, p=.04). In teens with valid data, average MVPA per day inversely related to depression (r=-.48, p=.05). Physical activity was not associated with BMI indices.

Conclusions

Accelerometry use in pregnant adolescents is challenging. Creative incentives and reminders warrant testing to increase feasibility. The connection of MVPA and depression, if replicated, may offer clinical implications. Given the high social-emotional needs of pregnant adolescents, integrative interventions for depression and excess gestational weight gain warrant consideration.