Term of Award

Summer 1999

Degree Name

Master of Science in Nursing

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Committee Chair

Elaine Hapshe

Committee Member 1

Carol Simonson

Committee Member 2

ElDonna Hilde

Committee Member 3

Barbara S. Turner

Abstract

Physical conditioning, fitness, and readiness are the hallmarks of active duty soldiers regardless of their military occupational specialty or gender. During pregnancy, soldiers are able to remain on active duty. Thus, maintaining physical fitness throughout the pregnancy and the postpartum period is a high priority for the return to Army fitness. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine if active duty soldiers with low risk pregnancies who participated in a regular structured exercise program, the Pregnant Soldier Wellness Program (PSWP), had a faster return to Army fitness postpartum than pregnant soldiers who did not.

The theoretical framework utilized for this study was the Revised Health Promotion Model (RHPM) by Nola Pender (1996). The RHPM provides nurses with a framework in which to examine the intricate biopsychosocial mechanisms that cause people to participate in activities that influence health promotion.

The research design was quasi-experimental using a pretest/post-test. The convenience sample was comprised of 101 participants in the experimental group and 25 participants in the control group. The two instruments used in the study were: the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT), and a battery of seven instruments that measured demographic information and degrees of fatigue. The prepregnancy APFT score was collected from the participant upon enrollment into the study, and 180 days postpregnancy. The battery of seven instruments was completed only by the experimental group once during each trimester.

Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, and t-test for independent samples. Alpha level was set as .05. Participation in the PSWP by the experimental group versus the control group for to return to Army fitness 180 days post pregnancy was statistically non-significant. The experimental pre/post APFT scores suggested that maintenance of the fitness during pregnancy occurred i.e. the control group APFT score decreased by almost twice as much as the mean APFT score for the experimental group. However, the results were not statistically significant at the .05 level.

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