Assessment of physical fitness during pregnancy: validity and reliability of fitness tests, and relationship with maternal and neonatal health - a systematic review.
BMJ Open Sport Exerc Med
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Objectives: To systematically review studies evaluating one or more components of physical fitness (PF) in pregnant women, to answer two research questions: (1) What tests have been employed to assess PF in pregnant women? and (2) What is the validity and reliability of these tests and their relationship with maternal and neonatal health?
Design: A systematic review.
Data sources: PubMed and Web of Science.
Eligibility criteria: Original English or Spanish full-text articles in a group of healthy pregnant women which at least one component of PF was assessed (field based or laboratory tests).
Results: A total of 149 articles containing a sum of 191 fitness tests were included. Among the 191 fitness tests, 99 (ie, 52%) assessed cardiorespiratory fitness through 75 different protocols, 28 (15%) assessed muscular fitness through 16 different protocols, 14 (7%) assessed flexibility through 13 different protocols, 45 (24%) assessed balance through 40 different protocols, 2 assessed speed with the same protocol and 3 were multidimensional tests using one protocol. A total of 19 articles with 23 tests (13%) assessed either validity (n=4), reliability (n=6) or the relationship of PF with maternal and neonatal health (n=16).
Conclusion: Physical fitness has been assessed through a wide variety of protocols, mostly lacking validity and reliability data, and no consensus exists on the most suitable fitness tests to be performed during pregnancy.
PROSPERO registration number: CRD42018117554.
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