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ukactive and Sport England have launched a series of This Mum Moves workouts to support pregnant women and new mums to be physically active at home, after 53% reported they have been less active since the Coronavirus lockdown.

As part of a collaboration between ukactive’s This Mum Moves programme and Sport England’s Join the Movement campaign, ukactive has developed a new website showcasing online workouts, reviewed by a panel of experts, for antenatal and postnatal women.

This Mum Moves, funded by Sport England and the National Lottery, aims to support pregnant women and new mums to stay active, by providing healthcare professionals with tools and training to deliver clear, consistent, and confident messages regarding physical activity.

Initial findings from a survey* by the Active Pregnancy Foundation, in association with ukactive, show the impact that lockdown is having on pregnant and postnatal women’s experiences. It found that 35.57% of respondents believe they are ‘a lot less’ active each week than before the lockdown restrictions began, and 17.39% believe they are ‘a bit less’ active (meaning a total of 53% believe they are less active).

While 56.92% of respondents said they were active for between 30 and 149 minutes per week before lockdown, that has dropped to 52.17% since restrictions came into place on 23 March. Only 24.11% have managed to achieve 150 minutes or more during lockdown.

Guidance by the UK Chief Medical Officers recommends accumulating at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity every week and engaging in muscle strengthening activities twice per week throughout pregnancy ­– citing benefits from helping to reduce blood pressure problems, to improved sleep and mood, control of weight gain, and prevention of diabetes in pregnancy.

With this week being Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week, other findings from the survey highlight the impact of physical activity on the women’s mental health too:

  • 88% of respondents felt that being active helped them to manage their mental health during the outbreak
  • 89% of respondents said that it was important for them to be physically active during lockdown
  • 86% of respondents felt that being active helped them to manage their physical health during the outbreak.

With pregnant women identified by the Government as a vulnerable group during the COVID-19 pandemic, the This Mum Moves workouts aim to help them, and new mums, continue to benefit from being physically active while at home – using engaging, free or low-cost content.

The content and providers have been reviewed by a group of experts collaborating for This Mum Moves – including representatives from the Institute of Health Visiting, the Pelvic Obstetric and Gynaecological Physiotherapists (POGP) network, fitness and exercise professionals, and academics from Canterbury Christ Church University and Aston University with expertise in pregnancy, postpartum period and physical activity.

The panel of experts will review content periodically so that the high-quality content can grow over time, with users encouraged to comment to help shape the site.

The new workouts form part of the wider Join the Movement #StayInWorkOut campaign, which Sport England launched to inspire the nation to get, or keep, active during the Coronavirus pandemic. The campaign website hosts home workouts for a variety of audiences including parents and children, older adults and more – including This Mum Moves.

Rachel Lawson, Project Manager at ukactive, said: “Working with our partners at Sport England, ukactive is proud to support pregnant women and new mums to stay active at this challenging time by introducing new workouts specifically for them.

“We hope that this bespoke resource will help more pregnant women and new mums to feel comfortable and confident about trying these activities at home.

“Not only will these workouts help women to have fun being active while keeping both mother and baby physically healthy, they have the potential to improve mood and wellbeing, which we want to celebrate as part of Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week.”

Kate Dale, Campaign Lead on Join The Movement for Sport England, said: “We’re delighted to launch the new resources as part of This Mum Moves with ukactive today, which will help direct women to safe at-home workouts and activities for their pregnancy and beyond.

“Our Join The Movement campaign is designed to inspire everyone to keep and stay active during the pandemic, and on the website we are curating content that’s specific to certain audiences.

“Often, women can feel unsure about which activities and moves are safe to do and the guidance from This Mum Moves is a way to address these concerns and encourage women to get active in a way that works for them.”

Women are encouraged to share how they are keeping active using the hashtags #ThisMumMoves and #StayInWorkOut

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