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Commentary

Encouraging Physical Activity during and after Pregnancy in the COVID-19 Era, and beyond

1
School of Psychology, Aston University, Birmingham B4 7ET, UK
2
Perinatal Physical Activity Research Group (PPARG), School of Psychology and Life Sciences, Faculty of Science, Engineering and Social Sciences, Canterbury Christ Church University, Canterbury CT1 1QU, UK
3
Population Health Sciences Institute (PHSI), Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 7RU, UK
4
UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, London WC1N 1EH, UK
5
Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 8QH, UK
6
Centre for Maternal and Child Health Research, School of Health Sciences, University of London, London WC1E 7HU, UK
7
Manchester Centre for Health Psychology, University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PL, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(19), 7304; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17197304
Received: 31 August 2020 / Revised: 30 September 2020 / Accepted: 2 October 2020 / Published: 7 October 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Activity Behaviour during Pregnancy and Postpartum)
Physical activity is known to decline during pregnancy and the postnatal period, yet physical activity is recommended during this time due to the significant health benefits for mothers and their offspring. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions imposed to reduce infection rates, pregnant and postnatal women have experienced disruption not just to their daily lives but also to their pregnancy healthcare experience and their motherhood journey with their new infant. This has included substantial changes in how, when and why they have engaged with physical activity. While some of these changes undoubtedly increased the challenge of being sufficiently active as a pregnant or postnatal woman, they have also revealed new opportunities to reach and support women and their families. This commentary details these challenges and opportunities, and highlights how researchers and practitioners can, and arguably must, harness these short-term changes for long-term benefit. This includes a call for a fresh focus on how we can engage and support those individuals and groups who are both hardest hit by COVID-19 and have previously been under-represented and under-served by antenatal and postnatal physical activity research and interventions. View Full-Text
Keywords: physical activity; pregnancy; postnatal; COVID-19; behaviour change; theory physical activity; pregnancy; postnatal; COVID-19; behaviour change; theory
MDPI and ACS Style

Atkinson, L.; De Vivo, M.; Hayes, L.; Hesketh, K.R.; Mills, H.; Newham, J.J.; Olander, E.K.; Smith, D.M. Encouraging Physical Activity during and after Pregnancy in the COVID-19 Era, and beyond. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 7304. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17197304

AMA Style

Atkinson L, De Vivo M, Hayes L, Hesketh KR, Mills H, Newham JJ, Olander EK, Smith DM. Encouraging Physical Activity during and after Pregnancy in the COVID-19 Era, and beyond. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2020; 17(19):7304. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17197304

Chicago/Turabian Style

Atkinson, Lou, Marlize De Vivo, Louise Hayes, Kathryn R. Hesketh, Hayley Mills, James J. Newham, Ellinor K. Olander, and Debbie M. Smith. 2020. "Encouraging Physical Activity during and after Pregnancy in the COVID-19 Era, and beyond" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 17, no. 19: 7304. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17197304

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