BACKGROUND: In order to assess physical activity (PA) during pregnancy, it is important to choose the instrument with the best measurement properties.
OBJECTIVES: To systematically summarize, appraise, and compare the measurement properties of all self-administered questionnaires assessing PA in pregnancy.
METHODS: We searched PubMed, Embase, and SPORTDiscus with the following inclusion criteria: (i) the study reported at least one measurement property (reliability, criterion validity, construct validity, responsiveness) of a self-administered questionnaire; (ii) the questionnaire intended to measure PA; (iii) the questionnaire was evaluated in healthy pregnant women; and (iv) the study was published in English. We evaluated results, quality of individual studies, and quality of evidence using a standardized checklist (Quality Assessment of Physical Activity Questionnaires [QAPAQ]) and the GRADE (Grading of Recommendation, Assessment, Development, and Evaluation) approach.
RESULTS: Seventeen articles, reporting 18 studies of 11 different PA questionnaires (17 versions), were included. Most questionnaire versions showed insufficient measurement properties. Only the French and Turkish versions of the Pregnancy Physical Activity Questionnaire (PPAQ) showed both sufficient reliability and construct validity. However, all versions of the PPAQ pooled together showed insufficient construct validity. The quality of individual studies was usually high for reliability but varied considerably for construct validity. Overall, the quality of evidence was very low to moderate.
CONCLUSIONS: We recommend the PPAQ to assess PA in pregnancy, although the pooled results revealed insufficient construct validity. The lack of appropriate standards in data collection and processing criteria for objective devices in measuring PA during pregnancy attenuates the quality of evidence. Therefore, research on the validity of comparison instruments in pregnancy followed by consensus on validation reference criteria and standards of PA measurement is needed.