The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2004 OPEN FORUM Abstracts


Deborah Cullen, EdD, RRT, FAARC
Jackie Reister, BS, CRT, Star Untersee, BS, CRT, Amy Moody, BS, CRT
Indiana University, Indianapolis, Indiana.

BACKGROUND: Physiologic dyspnea occurs in 60% to 70% of normal pregnant women on exertion and 20% of pregnant women at rest. Few studies have been conducted on ADL, dyspnea and pregnancy. The aim of this study is to determine the level of dyspnea and activities during pregnancy.

A convenience sample of 30 pregnant women, 10 from each trimester , were surveyed with The Inventory of Functional Status-Antepartum Period and The Oxygen Cost Diagram. The Inventory of Functional Status-Antepartum Period survey, by Dr. Lorraine Tulman, was designed to measure functional status during pregnancy including domains pertaining to the continuation of usual household, social and community, childcare, personal care, occupational, and educational activities during pregnancy. The Oxygen Cost Diagram (OCD) is a self-administered questionnaire for activities at intervals corresponding to metabolic equivalents on a scale. Compliance with IRB was followed.

See Table 1. Shaving legs and underarms, sleeping through the night, walking distances, climbing stairs, or exercising activities were decreased with mean scores of 1.57, 1.27, and 1.39 respectively on a scale of 1 (decreased) to 3 (increased). The OCD noted that shortness of breath was more evident in trimester 3 with greater with uphill walking dyspnea and bedmaking dyspnea. In trimester 1, 50% reported SOB during medium uphill walking, whereas, only 27% in trimester 3 could continue this activity to exertion.

The activities that are most difficult for pregnant women are as follows: walking distances, climbing stairs, exercising, shaving legs and underarms, sleeping through the night, cleaning the house, heavy housework, getting up with other children at night, bathing the children, and caring for pets. The OCD determined more dyspnea at lower levels of exertion in trimester 3.
We have concluded that there is a change in the level of dyspnea and activities performed by pregnant women over the three trimesters of pregnancy.


  % Cleaning House Heavy Housework Bathing the Children Up with Children at Night Caring for Pets % SOB Bed-making
Trimester One 30 60 67 50 80 20
Trimester Two 25 100 50 50 89 17
Trimester Three 91 100 78 70 100 36
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