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UK midwives delivering physical activity advice; what are the challenges and possible solutions?

Mitra, Marina; Marino, Katherine; Vishnubala, Dane; Pringle, Andy; Nykjaer, Camilla


Marina Mitra

Katherine Marino

Dane Vishnubala

Andy Pringle

Camilla Nykjaer


Background: Despite physical activity (PA) providing specific health benefits during pregnancy and the postpartum period, many women report decreased PA during this time. Provision of PA advice has been found to be lacking amongst midwives due to a range of barriers. This study aimed to evaluate United Kingdom's midwives' current role and knowledge regarding the provision of PA advice to pregnant and postpartum women and identify the barriers and potential solutions.

Methods: Ten UK midwives (mean work experience ± SD: 15.5 years ± 10.2) participated in semi-structured interviews between May and July 2023. Data were analysed using a deductive thematic approach following Braun and Clarke's six steps. Demographic data were collected by Microsoft Forms then summarised using Microsoft Excel.

Results: Six themes with 25 subthemes were identified as barriers and solutions in delivering PA advice. The role of midwives in providing PA advice during pregnancy; the role of midwives in providing PA advice postpartum; intrinsic barriers that limit PA advice provision (confidence, safety concerns, knowledge, and midwife's personal body habitus); extrinsic barriers that limit PA advice provision (lack of time, education, PA not a priority in care); solutions to allow midwives to promote PA (including formal PA education, and dissemination of resources); and optimising delivery of PA advice (personalized approach, interprofessional collaboration, and linking to mental health benefits).

Discussion: Midwives consider themselves ideally placed to provide PA advice to pregnant women, with many aware of the benefits PA provides. Despite this, there is a lack of PA advice provision and knowledge of PA guidelines. Postpartum PA advice appeared to be considered outside the remit of midwives, due to limited contact. Further research is needed to determine the current level of PA advice provision for pregnant and postpartum women and explore the role of other healthcare professionals involved in maternity care.


Mitra, M., Marino, K., Vishnubala, D., Pringle, A., & Nykjaer, C. (in press). UK midwives delivering physical activity advice; what are the challenges and possible solutions?. Frontiers in Sports and Active Living, 6, Article 1369534.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 15, 2024
Online Publication Date Jun 3, 2024
Deposit Date Jul 1, 2024
Publicly Available Date Jul 1, 2024
Journal Frontiers in sports and active living
Print ISSN 2624-9367
Electronic ISSN 2624-9367
Publisher Frontiers Media
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 6
Article Number 1369534
Keywords Pregnancy, Knowledge, Exercise, Postpartum, Awareness, Midwives, Physical Activity, Advice
Public URL
Publisher URL
PMID 38887687


UK midwives delivering physical activity advice; what are the challenges and possible solutions? (1.1 Mb)


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Copyright Statement
© 2024 Mitra, Marino, Vishnubala, Pringle and Nykjaer. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

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