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Appears in Collections:Psychology Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Antenatal physical activity: a qualitative study exploring women’s experiences and the acceptability of antenatal walking groups
Author(s): Currie, Sinéad
Gray, Cindy
Shepherd, Ashley
McInnes, Rhona J
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Keywords: Physical activity
Walking group
Public Involvement
Antenatal care
Issue Date: 22-Jul-2016
Citation: Currie S, Gray C, Shepherd A & McInnes RJ (2016) Antenatal physical activity: a qualitative study exploring women’s experiences and the acceptability of antenatal walking groups, BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, 16 (1), Art. No.: 182.
Abstract: Background.  Regular physical activity (PA) can be beneficial to pregnant women, however, many women do not adhere to current PA guidelines during the antenatal period. Patient and public involvement is essential when designing antenatal PA interventions in order to uncover the reasons for non-adherence and non-engagement with the behaviour, as well as determining what type of intervention would be acceptable. The aim of this research was to explore women’s experiences of PA during a recent pregnancy, understand the barriers and determinants of antenatal PA and explore the acceptability of antenatal walking groups for further development.  Methods.  Seven focus groups were undertaken with women who had given birth within the past five years. Focus groups were transcribed and analysed using a grounded theory approach. Relevant and related behaviour change techniques (BCTs), which could be applied to future interventions, were identified using the BCT taxonomy.  Results.  Women’s opinions and experiences of PA during pregnancy were categorised into biological/physical (including tiredness and morning sickness), psychological (fear of harm to baby and self-confidence) and social/environmental issues (including access to facilities). Although antenatal walking groups did not appear popular, women identified some factors which could encourage attendance (e.g. childcare provision) and some which could discourage attendance (e.g. walking being boring). It was clear that the personality of the walk leader would be extremely important in encouraging women to join a walking group and keep attending. Behaviour change technique categories identified as potential intervention components included social support and comparison of outcomes (e.g. considering pros and cons of behaviour).  Conclusions.  Women’s experiences and views provided a range of considerations for future intervention development, including provision of childcare, involvement of a fun and engaging leader and a range of activities rather than just walking. These experiences and views relate closely to the Health Action Process Model which, along with BCTs, could be used to develop future interventions. The findings of this study emphasise the importance of involving the target population in intervention development and present the theoretical foundation for building an antenatal PA intervention to encourage women to be physically active throughout their pregnancies.
DOI Link: 10.1186/s12884-016-0973-1
Rights: © The Author(s). 2016 This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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