"They turn to you first for everything": insights into midwives' perspectives of providing physical activity advice and guidance to pregnant women.

DE VIVO, Marlize and MILLS, Hayley (2019). "They turn to you first for everything": insights into midwives' perspectives of providing physical activity advice and guidance to pregnant women. BMC pregnancy and childbirth, 19 (1): 462.

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Link to published version:: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12884-019-2607-x



The antenatal period is associated with a decline in physical activity among women. Midwives are viewed central to the dissemination of information during pregnancy, however, there is little research relating to their promotion of physical activity. The purpose of this study was to gain insight into midwives' perspectives of providing physical activity advice and guidance to pregnant women METHODS: Community midwives (N = 10) from ten randomly selected antenatal clinics in England took part in semi-structured interviews which were audio recorded, transcribed and analysed thematically RESULTS: In relation to perceived role and responsibilities in providing physical activity advice and guidance, midwives emphasised the extent to which their profession has evolved, the perceived burden of responsibility, and the tick box approach to physical activity discussion. Midwives identified a lack of training, knowledge, confidence, time, resources, and perceptions of vulnerability as barriers to effective physical activity promotion. Despite these issues midwives proposed eight opportunities to facilitate pregnant women's physical activity engagement: (1) recognising and addressing barriers in the uptake and maintenance of physical activities, (2) professional development, (3) inter-professional collaboration, (4) communicating effectively through simple, reliable resources, (5) improved access, availability, and awareness of suitable activities in the local community, (6) encouraging a support network, (7) "selling" physical activity by challenging misconceptions and focusing on benefits, and (8) suitable motivation, incentives and reward.


These opportunities identified by midwives provide foundations from which improvements in practice can result. Whilst midwives are ideally placed to promote physical activity as part of a healthy pregnancy, this is likely to be most effective as part of a wider network of practitioners that share consistent and confident messages regarding physical activity engagement. This notion has far reaching implications for practice, policy, research and the normalisation of active pregnancies in the wider population.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Humans; Exercise; Prenatal Care; Attitude of Health Personnel; Midwifery; Pregnancy; Qualitative Research; Adult; England; Female; Practice Patterns, Nurses'; England; Exercise; Maternal; Midwife; Physical activity; Pregnancy; Qualitative; Thematic analysis; Adult; Attitude of Health Personnel; England; Exercise; Female; Humans; Midwifery; Practice Patterns, Nurses'; Pregnancy; Prenatal Care; Qualitative Research; 1110 Nursing; 1114 Paediatrics and Reproductive Medicine; 1117 Public Health and Health Services; Obstetrics & Reproductive Medicine; 3215 Reproductive medicine; 4204 Midwifery
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12884-019-2607-x
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 04 Jan 2024 16:29
Last Modified: 04 Jan 2024 16:30
URI: https://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/32855

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