nellie_webMothers whose youngest child is aged between 12 and 18 months are being sought for a new research project investigating physical activity during pregnancy.

Nellie Buckley, who is completing a Bachelor of Sport and Exercise Science Honours degree at Southern Cross University, is looking for mothers to take part in a survey which will look at activity levels before their pregnancy, during the pregnancy and now with a young child.

The survey will be posted out to the participants, who can be located anywhere, and the information provided will be confidential and anonymous.

“I’m investigating how pregnancy changes the physical activity levels of active women,” Nellie said. “I’m looking for mothers who are not pregnant and whose youngest child is aged between 12 and 18 months.

“In 2004 the national guidelines were changed to encourage women to continue on with normal physical activities as much as possible during pregnancy. Before that the recommendation was that women should cease sport while they were pregnant.

“What I am looking at is whether that message is getting out. I want to know what women are doing. While previous research has shown that pregnant women decrease their physical activity, this may not be the case now.”

Nellie said there were numerous benefits in staying active during pregnancy including weight management, lower risk of high blood pressure, better physical well-being and an increased ability to cope with stress.

“My passion is in women’s health and exercise. There is not a great deal of research about pregnancy and I’m hoping this study will lead to the development of pregnancy exercise programs,” she said.

Anyone who is interested in taking part in the survey can contact Nellie via email at nellie.buckley@scu.edu.au or on 02 66203230.

PICTURE: Survey participant Sally Charters, with her children Eva, 3, and Sian, 1, and Nellie Buckley.