Practice-based evidence: Perspectives of effective characteristics of Australian group-based physical activity programs for postpartum women

Louisa R. Peralta, Zali Yager, Ivanka Prichard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Issue addressed: Many postpartum women often do not achieve recommendations of at least 150 minutes moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) each week. Previous qualitative work has focused on postpartum women's barriers and challenges to being active, with recent research starting to explore the characteristics of PA programs and women who are active during the postpartum period. Yet, little research has focused on the characteristics of key stakeholders and community organisations that support women to sustain their PA engagement during the postpartum period. Methods: This research generates practice-based evidence to provide essential insights for effective implementation, strategies and actions of community group-based PA programs that recruit and retain postpartum women to ensure future interventions are scalable and sustainable. Ten participants (90% female), ranging in age from 34 to 40 years, were recruited from nine community organisations/businesses. The ten participants engaged in semi-structured interviews for an average length of 31 minutes. Results: Inductive thematic analysis revealed four overarching themes (i) effective practitioners have a history of, and passion for women's health and PA; (ii) low-cost, connected approaches attract postpartum women into community group-based PA programs; (iii) inclusive, flexible, varied, and holistic approaches sustain postpartum women's participation; and (iv) utilise connections to overcome barriers to community group-based PA programs. These four themes were informed by twelve sub-themes relating to the background of stakeholders and practitioners and the approaches that they use to attract and sustain postpartum women in community group-based PA programs. Conclusions: Practice-based findings should inform future practices and the development of future real-world group-based PA interventions for postpartum women. So what?: Specifically, interventions will need to be designed and implemented by practitioners who have a history of, and passion for women's health and PA, be low-cost, connected approaches, that are inclusive, flexible, varied, and holistic that prioritise physical, emotional, and social wellbeing.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
JournalHealth Promotion Journal of Australia
Early online date28 Nov 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Nov 2021

Keywords

  • community
  • facilitators
  • group programs
  • physical activity
  • Postpartum women
  • practice-based evidence
  • stakeholders

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