Meet our Executive, Trustee & Scientific Advisory Board
Dr Marlize De Vivo
CEO & Co-Founder
Dr Marlize De Vivo is a qualified Biokineticist (clinical exercise specialist), Sports Rehabilitator and Trainer (BASRaT registered), and professional member of the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES). She has worked in a variety of health and sport settings as part of multi-professional teams and in various roles during her career.
During her PhD she delivered a multiphase research project with the aim of understanding and predicting the physical activity behaviour of pregnant women. The findings from this study subsequently informed a bid for funding to develop a national educational initiative to upskill healthcare professionals in relation to the evidence and guidance for being active throughout pregnancy and the postnatal period. This project, This Mum Moves, was successful in receiving National Lottery and Sport England funding and is currently being delivered nationwide in partnership by the Active Pregnancy Foundation and Institute of Health Visiting.
During her time as Senior Research Fellow at Canterbury Christ Church University, she was involved in various projects related to the promotion of physical activity, particularly during the perinatal period. Subsequently, she was appointed co-director of the Perinatal Physical Activity Research Group (PPARG) which designs, conducts, and communicates research focusing on physical activity during the preconception, pregnancy, and the postnatal periods. The work of the PPARG has delivered significant new insights into the factors which determine women’s engagement and experiences of physical activity before, during, after and between pregnancy.
During the last five years Marlize has led on and collaborated on various projects. She has been involved in developing the Exercise Works! Movement for Movement undergraduate teaching resources; written an online learning module in partnership with Public Health England and Health Education England as part of the Physical Activity and Health programme; and contributed to the development of the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMSPA) Professional Standard in working with Antenatal and Postnatal clients. Notably, she was also a member of the Expert Working Group (EWG) for the development of the Chief Medical Officers’ (CMO) physical activity guidelines. And more recently, she was appointed to the CMO’s Physical Activity Guidelines Expert Committee for Communications as Specialist Committee Member.
As part of her role with The Active Pregnancy Foundation, Marlize also chairs the Scientific Advisory Board. This multi-disciplinary panel provide support, advice and guidance to the charity in respect of the evidence-base, professional standards and best practice guidelines. The group also responds to current issues and challenges and to this end, recently produced an Expert Statement on Pregnant and Postnatal Athletes on behalf of BASES.
Marlize’s interest in this area started with her own pregnancy when recognising the lack in guidance and support available. She hopes that her work will leave a lasting impact, with many more women benefitting from an active lifestyle throughout their childbearing years.
CEO & Co-Founder
Sally first met Marlize in 2019. Together with a small group of women they realised that there was a complete lack of support and advice given to women about being active during and after pregnancy. There was, and still is, plenty of guidance online, but many of those offering it are unqualified. Sally realised what a minefield it had become for pregnant and postnatal women keen to know if being active is safe for them. So, the group decided something needed to be done to fill the gap, and in Lockdown 2020 The APF was born!
At this point, Sally had been an adventurer for 15 years, as well as a professional speaker. It was a career which was kickstarted by rowing across the Atlantic twice, once with her mother. Together they earned a Guinness World Record.
Sally has delivered stories of her life as an adventurer in person to over half a million people, which include the world record-breaking rowing adventures, trekking expeditions, extreme sailing competitions, and humanitarian aid work. Sally was previously a producer for BBC radio, which led to writing and presenting pieces for BBC Radio 4’s FourThought and the From Our Correspondent programmes.
Sally also went on to become a Personal Trainer, and was selected to work with the athletes at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Throughout this period Sally and her husband were having difficultly conceiving and turned to IVF. After a long and difficult journey she became pregnant with a daughter, and realised how little guidance there was to support her physical and mental health. It’s her passion to change this for other women that has provided the drive to keep The APF going.
When not working as a volunteer for The APF, Sally is a Qualified Coach and WRAW (Workplace resilience and wellbeing) Certified Practitioner. She’s also a management trainer with experience across many sectors – including professional and financial services, retail, not-for-profit, sports associations, and even nuclear power generation.