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Effectiveness and perceptions of physical activity interventions in previously active women during pregnancy and postpartum: a mixed-methods systematic review.
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  • Murali Krishnan Perumbakkam Subramanian,
  • Louise Hayes,
  • Peter Van der Graaf,
  • Liane Azevedo
Murali Krishnan Perumbakkam Subramanian
Teesside University

Corresponding Author:m.perumbakkamsubramanian@tees.ac.uk

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Louise Hayes
Newcastle University
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Peter Van der Graaf
Teesside University
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Liane Azevedo
University of Huddersfield
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Background: Physical activity (PA) reduces significantly in active women during pregnancy and in postpartum. Objectives: To synthesise the evidence on the effectiveness of PA interventions delivered to active pregnant and postpartum women and to explore the perceptions of active women on being active during pregnancy. Search Strategy: Five databases were searched from inception up until 12th of May 2019. Selection Criteria: We included studies where a PA intervention was used to promote or prevent decline in PA levels in active pregnant and/or postpartum women, and either PA outcomes or participants’ views on physical activity were reported. Data Collection and Analysis: Data were extracted using structured data extraction forms. A narrative synthesis of quantitative and qualitative data was produced. Main Results: Three studies with a total of 2,1426 participants were included. Quantitative studies used face-to-face sessions, goal setting, and multimedia provision to exercise at home as interventions. Different methods were used to assess change in PA with both studies reporting significant positive changes in physical activity. Qualitative data suggested that already active women are enthusiastic about continuing PA during and after pregnancy. They see health benefits and empowerment as an enabler and overcoming peer judgement and stereotypes as a barrier. Conclusion: Available evidence shows that PA interventions in already active women tend to be successful in increasing physical activity levels and foster a positive perception. These findings should inform the design and delivery of successful PA interventions in already active pregnant and postpartum women. Keywords: Physical activity; Already active; Pregnant; Postpartum.