Roughly 3,750 women each year in Cornwall are currently missing out on mental and physical health benefits of being active during pregnancy and in the postnatal period
Cornwall is one of only a handful of counties embedding physical activity within professional and volunteer services provided to pregnant or postnatal people
64% of pregnant women have experienced nervousness or anxiety around being active
A new pre-screening tool to be used in Cornwall can help more pregnant people to be physically active
Nominations are open for the new Active Pregnancy Foundation Awards – the first awards of its kind.
Active Cornwall, along with other key organisations within Cornwall, are working towards supporting more people to become or remain active during pregnancy and beyond. According to research carried out by the Active Pregnancy Foundation, 75% of women are currently missing out on the mental and physical health benefits of being active during pregnancy and in the postnatal period. There are approximately 5,000 births in Cornwall every year, that equals roughly 3,750 pregnant people missing out on these benefits.
As part of its work to tackle inequalities in physical activity across the county, Active Cornwall has joined forces with other key organisations to do something about this physical active gap, at what is, such a crucial moment in someone’s life.
The aim is to upskill and empower professionals that connect with pregnant and postnatal people to have conversations about the importance of physical activity: research shows up to 1 in 3 professionals currently do not do this as part of their day-to-day role. The aim is also to empower pregnant and postnatal people to be physically active in a way that works for them.
THIS MUM MOVES – UPSKILLING PROFESSIONALS
Over 20 professionals from across maternity services, HomeStart Kernow, leisure, fitness, Healthy Cornwall, health visiting and Active Cornwall are This Mum Moves Ambassadors (a certified programme developed by the Active Pregnancy Foundation and Institute of Health Visiting alongside women and professionals over the past three years). They have enhanced knowledge and understanding and are now able to confidently have conversations about physical activity, deliver cascade awareness to their colleagues in their organisations and be part of a network of local advocates to support families in Cornwall.
Samantha Lawrence, lead for pre and postnatal work and early years at Active Cornwall says
“I’m so proud that the professional services in Cornwall have embraced the This Mum Moves Ambassador programme"
“We know that women frequently come into contact with a range of professionals during pregnancy and following childbirth, but research has shown that there is a lack of clear and consistent physical activity information. Many people during pregnancy reduce their levels of physical activity or stop all together. As much as 64% of pregnant women have experienced nervousness or anxiety around being active, which the right level of advice or support can mitigate. On top of that, levels rarely pick up after pregnancy due to the physical, emotional, social and mental barriers these women face.
“By having a professional network within Cornwall with enhanced understanding, knowledge and skills, we can better support our families and hope to reduce this reduction in physical activity levels.”
KERNOW PARENTING JOURNEY – EMPOWERMENT THROUGHOUT PREGNANCY AND BEYOND
Active Cornwall has also been working with Healthwatch Cornwall to develop content focused on antenatal wellness as part of the Kernow Parenting Journey. This includes information, advice and guidance directly for pregnant people on physical activity and free or low-cost opportunities for them to get active, either in the local community or at home and online. This content will now feature as part of the Pregnancy Circle, supported by This Mum Moves Ambassadors from HomeStart Kernow, and on a new dedicated website for the Kernow Parenting Journey.
“Having access to the expertise Active Cornwall has in terms of supporting pregnant people to move through pregnancy has been invaluable to Kernow Parenting Journey. Working alongside the Midwifery and Health Visiting teams has proven that programs such as This Mum Moves increases professionals confidence when offering advice around physical activity and the wider health benefits.”
Morwenna Gee, Project Coordinator, Kernow Parenting Journey.
“Evidence shows that regular physical active for those with uncomplicated pregnancies can help reduce high blood pressure problems, improve sleep, help to prevent diabetes of pregnancy and improve mood, and during the postnatal period can also reduce post-natal depression. It’s not just about weight control, it’s about physically, mentally and emotionally preparing yourself for pregnancy, childbirth and life afterwards. By providing women with this information, we hope to empower them to make the right decisions for them and their families.”
Samantha Lawrence, Active Cornwall
GET ACTIVE PREGNANCY QUESTIONNAIRE – WHEN TO SEEK MEDICAL ADVICE
Active Cornwall is also working to promote the use of the new Get Active Questionnaire for Pregnancy (GAQ-P) throughout Cornwall. The Questionnaire is designed to identify the small number of individuals who should seek medical advice as a first step to becoming or continuing to be physically active during pregnancy, and to help the majority of healthy pregnant individuals overcome any concerns they might have with getting or staying active.
“Is it safe for me? Will it harm my baby? These are questions often asked by women when becoming pregnant. And whilst research has shown that the benefits of being active during pregnancy far outweighs the potential risks, some women might need to consult with a healthcare professional before taking part, and in some cases, will benefit from additional monitoring, support and guidance from a qualified exercise professional. The Get Active Questionnaire for Pregnancy removes the uncertainty around these decisions and empowers women to take ownership of their own health and wellbeing.”
Dr Marlize De Vivo, PhD / CEO & Co-Founder, The Active Pregnancy Foundation
The Questionnaire is available to download directly from the Active Cornwall website.
ACTIVE PREGNANCY AWARDS – CELEBRATING OUR WORK
The Active Pregnancy Foundation has proudly launched the UK’s first ever Active Pregnancy Foundation Awards, to celebrate the people, initiatives and products that support women to remain active in their pregnancies.
Active Cornwall is calling on all local organisations to support this opportunity by nominating themselves or someone they know, as a way of shining a spotlight on the many physical and mental health benefits of women staying active during pregnancy and beyond, and the people who are making this happen in Cornwall.
Dr Hussain Al-Zubaidi, Channel 4 TV Doctor, RCGP Lifestyle & Physical Activity Lead & Awards Judge says,
“The APF Awards 2023 are an amazing opportunity. We need to keep banging the drum about the benefits of movement as part of a healthy lifestyle, and I can’t wait to step into my role as a judge and learn more about the many nominations.”
Nominations Close on 19th March and there will be opportunities for the public to vote, as well as a panel of expert judges. The Awards will take place in London on 27 June.
For more details on all of this work, please contact Samantha Lawrence at Samantha.email@example.com or visit the Active Cornwall website.