Background: given the positive physical and mental health outcomes associated with participating in regular exercise, promoting exercise during pregnancy needs to remain a crucial objective among health promoters.
Objectives: to determine the knowledge level and document self-reported beliefs about physical exercise during pregnancy.
Method: a descriptive study was carried out on 197 pregnant women who attended the maternal and child care units in two primary health care centers of Sulaimani city.The study was carried out for the period of (April, 2013 – February, 2014 ). Data was analyzed with SPSS (16.0) program. Chi-Square (Fishers' Exact) test was used in the statistical assessment and the figure of p<0.05 was considered as the statistically significant.
Results: majority 81.2 % of participants had inadequate knowledge regarding effect of exercise during pregnancy and only 13.7% of participants believed that exercises had positive effect on pregnancy. Level of knowledge and belief increase with increasing level of education, employment, better financial status, extended family type, and women who had no abortion while age, gestational age, pregnancy and delivery number were not associated with knowledge and belief level.
Conclusions: researchers conclude that the knowledge of pregnant women in Sulaimani regarding exercise during pregnancy is inadequate. Women's education, occupation, family type, financial status and pervious abortion had a positive effect on pregnant women's knowledge and beliefs.