New campaign promotes activity to pregnant women and new mums

This Girl Can is encouraging more pregnant women and new mothers to get active with a new campaign entitled Active Mums Start With You.

The campaign comes as new a new survey, which we commissioned, shows that 64% of pregnant women or women with children under one year have experienced nervousness or anxiety related to physical activity.

One of the main concerns is anxiety over what is and isn’t safe to do when pregnant but being active during pregnancy and postnatally can be hugely beneficial in supporting both the physical and mental health of mothers.

This is why Active Mums Starts With You is encouraging GPs, midwives and health visitors to proactively talk to and advise pregnant women and new mothers about activity and provide advice if they’re unsure of what to do.

The campaign features imagery of pregnant women and new mothers getting active in a variety of dynamic, but safe, ways and links to a wide range of resources and training materials that support healthcare professionals to have these conversations.

These resources include training developed as part of the This Mum Moves project, and our head of activation, Frances Drury, believes they could be key in giving pregnant women and new mums the confidence to be active.

“Being pregnant and having a baby is a huge transition in life and it’s no surprise that staying active becomes even more of a challenge,” she said.

“The significant barrier we want to tackle with this campaign is that women often aren’t clear on what is and isn’t safe to participate in and are often nervous about returning to being fully active after having a baby.

“We understand the enormous pressures that healthcare professionals are under, especially in the wake of the pandemic, but we hope this campaign serves as a positive reminder of the influence they can have over expectant and new mums and the many mental and physical health benefits of regular activity.”

Also included in the resources is a new set of guidance developed by the Active Pregnancy Foundation, in collaboration with experts, with information on popular activities such as resistance training, dance and yoga.

The resources are designed to help better equip healthcare professionals after a survey showed 33% of midwives and health visitors, from the 393 questioned, rarely or never spoke about or gave advice on getting active to pregnant women, with 27% rarely or never giving advice to new mums.

Being pregnant and having a baby is a huge transition in life and it’s no surprise that staying active becomes even more of a challenge.

Frances Drury
Head of activation, Sport England

Previous research has shown that not discussing physical activity in appointment is often due to a lack of time, knowledge and skills, as well as a lack of confidence in raising the topic and a lack of training.

This new campaign aims to combat this enable pregnant women and new mums to feel more confident in getting active and experiencing its benefits – which include improved emotional wellbeing, a reduction in hypertensive disorders and a reduced risk of developing gestational diabetes.

So for Dr Zoe Williams, clinical champion for physical activity and lifestyle at the Royal College of GPs, the new resources could make all the difference in helping pregnant women and new mums get active.

“Evidence shows that being regularly active can have a positive impact on many conditions related to pregnancy and early motherhood, including depression,” she said.

“This is why we’re supporting this campaign, alongside the Institute of Health Visiting, as we want to help ensure our colleagues have all the information and advice needed to instigate brief, appropriate conversations about pregnant and postpartum physical activity with their patients.”

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