Barriers and Facilitators for Physical Activity in Pregnancy and PostPartum? Findings from a Qualitative Study to Inform the Design of an Intervention for Active Women

Murali K. P. Subramanian, Peter van der Graaf, Louise Hayes, Rosemary Dawnson, Kunj Sachdeva, Liane Beretta De Azevedo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: The benefits of physical activity during and after pregnancy
are well established. However, activity levels decline substantially in both
inactive and active women. There is limited information on the barriers and
facilitators for physical activity participation in active women, which is
vital for the development of tailored interventions. The primary aim of this
study is to identify the barriers and facilitators for physical activity (PA) in
already active women during pregnancy and postpartum. We also explore
their views on, and requirements for, the development of an intervention to
support maintenance of or increase in physical activity.
Methods: Five focus groups, with a total of 19 participants, were conducted
using a topic guide structured around the study objectives. Transcripts
were analysed using a thematic analysis approach.
Results: Twenty-two codes were generated and grouped into 8 themes:
(1) cognizant of PA benefits, (2) sources of advice, (3) reasons to be active
during pregnancy, (4) reasons for reducing PA levels during pregnancy,
(5) barriers to PA during and after pregnancy, (6) facilitators of PA during
and after pregnancy, (7) ideal PA intervention, and (8) evaluation support.
Conclusion: Already active women show enthusiasm for continuing PA
during and after pregnancy. However, factors such as pregnancy- related
body changes, childcare and lack of targeted activities deter participation in
PA. A new PA programme with social and group elements, including both
familiar and new activities, and providing „satisfaction and fun‟ should be
developed for previously active pregnant and postpartum women to help
increase or maintain PA levels.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)280-287
Number of pages8
JournalObstetrics and Gynecology Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 28 Nov 2022

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