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This Mum Moves project to help support expectant mothers get active

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Our insight tells us that despite their time pressures and conflicting priorities, new and expecting mums want to be more active
– Phil Smith

ukactive has kicked-off a project called This Mum Moves, aimed at supporting women to be physically active during and after pregnancy.

The project hopes to provide midwives, health visitors, and other healthcare professionals with better information in order for them to be confident in recommending physical activity to women during and after pregnancy.

As part of the launch ukactive's project team undertook a baseline survey of healthcare professionals’ knowledge and confidence in providing physical activity advice.

Conducted in collaboration with Canterbury Christ Church University (CCCU) and the Institute of Health Visiting (iHV), the project included setting up focus groups with midwives, health visitors, and pregnant and postpartum women.

Using a Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) approach, seven focus groups were conducted in the pilot areas of Bexley (London) and Sheffield, with support from the local councils.

More than a quarter (27 per cent) of the healthcare professionals responding to the survey indicated that they did not know whether pregnant women should continue to engage in 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity every week, as recommended by the Chief Medical Officer in 2017.

Meanwhile, the pregnant women and new mothers in the groups called for greater consistency in the information provided, as well as specific and early advice from healthcare professionals, and links to local services.

The findings were consistent with existing literature in this area, which shows there is a lack of knowledge and confidence in providing physical activity advice and guidance during pregnancy and the postnatal period.

The insights from the work will be used to develop a toolkit for healthcare professionals and a wider campaign aimed at supporting pregnant women and new mothers in maintaining regular physical activity during pregnancy and beyond.

Insights from the project will be used by the project team to develop the resources and campaign for launch this Autumn in Sheffield and Bexley, with plans for a national rollout in the future.

The project, funded by the National Lottery and Sport England, involves a coalition of partners including ukactive, CCCU, iHV, the Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists, Best Beginnings, Pelvic Obstetric and Gynaecological Physiotherapy, Aston University, the National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine – Sheffield, and the Centre for Sport, Physical Education and Activity Research (spear).

“Remaining active when having a baby, or even starting new activities, can be a daunting prospect," said Phil Smith, director of Sport at Sport England.

"Our insight tells us that despite their time pressures and conflicting priorities, new and expecting mums want to be more active.

"That’s why Sport England is investing National Lottery funding into programmes like This Mum Moves.

"We hope this funding goes a long way to equip midwives, health visitors and other healthcare professionals with the right tools to help them feel confident guiding pregnant women and new mums to activities that are right for them.”

Dr Marlize De Vivo, from Canterbury Christ Church University, added: “This area has received considerable attention since the launch of the new CMO guidelines in 2017.

"However, it is clear that more needs to be done to ensure that practice aligns with current policy.

"This Mum Moves facilitates inter-professional collaboration and celebrates the increasing focus on women and families enjoying and benefitting from active lifestyles.”

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Ukactive has kicked-off a project called This Mum Moves, aimed at supporting women to be physically active during and after pregnancy.
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