Updated: Jan 26, 2021
Midwife encourages peers to access a new online tool to support postnatal women to be active.
Jacqueline Garrard MBE, who is a practicing midwife and Scientific Advisory Board member of The Active Pregnancy Foundation, encouraging fellow nurses and midwives to support postnatal women to get active, by accessing a new online tool for healthcare professionals. This follows a survey led by the Active Pregnancy Foundation which reveals that half of pregnant women and new mums (50.32%) said they were less active during the first national lockdown, compared to a typical week before the restrictions were introduced.
The new postnatal tool, which has been developed by the Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine UK, will be available to access on the Moving Medicine website from Wednesday 20th January. The tool contains conversation guides - ranging from one, five and more minutes - that can be used by healthcare professionals, to provide clear and consistent messaging about the benefits of physical activity with postnatal women.
“It’s important that new mums stay active during the third lockdown to reduce the risk of depression”
Jacqueline, who delivers physical activity training to groups of healthcare professionals via Public Health England’s Physical Activity Clinical Champions network, says: “It’s been a challenging time for so many people, but especially for women who are preparing to give birth or caring for a new born baby.
The survey led by the Active Pregnancy Foundation, in association with the This Mum Moves project, explored pregnant women and new mum's engagement with physical activities during the first national lockdown last year. The findings also revealed that only a quarter of respondents (25.16%) managed to achieve the UK Chief Medical Officers’ recommended guidelines on physical activity during lockdown.
Jacqueline comments: “We know that in most cases it is safe for women to keep active after childbirth, with evidence showing that physical activity can improve individuals’ sleep and mood. As we continue through this third national lockdown and beyond, it is important that new mums stay active, to improve their physical health and reduce the risk of postnatal depression. In fact, 88 per cent of women surveyed by the Active Pregnancy Foundation, said that being active helped them to manage their mental health.”
“New tool highlights the importance of keeping active and debunks after birth physical activity myths”
“Fellow healthcare professionals and I can certainly play a leading role in supporting postnatal women to be active. In fact, one in four people have stated that they would be more active if they were advised by a healthcare professional.”
Jacqueline comments on the new postnatal tool and says: “This is an exciting online tool that highlights the importance of physical activity. It can be used by a range of healthcare professionals, from midwives to obstetricians and GPs and trainee midwives, to increase their knowledge and confidence in this area.
“Often, women can feel unsure about which activities are safe to do after giving birth, relying on after birth myths that suggest women should focus on rest and not keep active. The easy to follow postnatal conversation guides and the patient information leaflet, available on the Moving Medicine website, supports healthcare professionals to address these concerns and encourage women to get active in a way that works for them.
“I particularly like the guidance on being active whilst breastfeeding and the clear message that pelvic floor exercises are important to practice after giving birth.
About Moving Medicine
Moving Medicine was developed by the Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine UK through investment and support from Sport England, the National Lottery and Public Health England. The innovative evidence-based online tool was developed in consultation with over 600 professionals.
The tool also provides healthcare professionals with conversation guides to help patients with conditions such as type 2 diabetes, COPD and depression, incorporate physical activity into their everyday life.
Moving Medicine forms part of the Moving Healthcare Professionals Programme
(led by Public Health England, in partnership with Sport England), which also offers free online peer-to-peer training and e-learning about the role of physical activity in managing and preventing common conditions. To find out more, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.