Impact of having a child on physical activity in the UK: A scoping review [Conference Abstract]

Matthew Northcote, Charlie E M Foster, Richard Pulsford, Fiona Spotswood, Jack Brazier

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference Abstract

Abstract

Introduction

Having a child is a life event and transition spanning from the preconception period, throughout pregnancy, the postpartum period, and into parenthood. It has been identified as a critical transformative experience and window for health and wellbeing and intervention.

Aim and Methods

We aimed to conduct a scoping review of available literature exploring the impact of having a child on physical activity in the UK. A three-step search strategy identified quantitative observational, qualitative, and mixed methods studies, from published and grey literature, conducted in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. Two reviewers independently screened titles and abstracts and identified studies for inclusion and charted data, with a third reviewer resolving any conflicts. We conducted numeric and thematic analysis to map data. We consulted key stakeholders to provide greater insight.

Results and Discussion

1,277 studies were identified and 44 were included in this review. Overall physical activity, cardiovascular activity, and leisure-time activity generally declined in females from preconception to pregnancy and throughout pregnancy. Occupational activity decreased, domestic activity increased, and sedentary behaviour had mixed findings throughout pregnancy. A small number of studies found a reduction in overall physical activity and an increase in pelvic floor muscle exercise from pregnancy to postpartum. Some studies indicate that moderate to vigorous intensity activity decreased and light intensity activity increased across these states. There were no studies in males from the preconception period, throughout pregnancy, and the postpartum period. A limited number of studies reported a decline in overall physical activity, cardiovascular activity, and leisure-time activity from preconception to parenthood in both males and females. No studies included muscle-strengthening activities. Barriers and facilitators of physical activity included information provision and knowledge and understanding; pregnancy-related symptoms; perceived risks to pregnancy outcomes; parenting and occupational responsibilities; and access to resources. Available literature is largely informed by behaviourist theoretical perspectives.

Conclusion

This review provides an overview of available literature exploring the impact of having a child on physical activity in the UK. Future research should explore physical activity when having a child in its entirety, from the preconception period, throughout pregnancy, the postpartum period, and into parenthood.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 9 Nov 2022
EventScottish Physical Activity Research Connections (SPARC) Virtual Conference 2022 -
Duration: 9 Nov 202211 Nov 2022

Conference

ConferenceScottish Physical Activity Research Connections (SPARC) Virtual Conference 2022
Period9/11/2211/11/22

Structured keywords

  • Families and Parenting
  • SPS Exercise, Nutrition and Health Sciences

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