• Research by Sport England has found that 64% of pregnant women and women with children under 1 have experienced nervousness or anxiety related to being physically active, either during pregnancy or in early motherhood.
  • A survey among healthcare professionals indicated that 33% rarely or never give advice on physical activity to pregnant women.
  • ‘Active Mums Start With You’ is a new campaign from This Girl Can, to support and encourage healthcare professionals such as GPs, Midwives and Health Visitors to have more conversations with pregnant women and new mothers about the benefits of being active.
  • The campaign is supported by the Royal College of GPs, the Institute of Health Visiting and The Active Pregnancy Foundation.

A new survey from Sport England has revealed that 64% of pregnant women or women with children under 1 have experienced nervousness or anxiety related to physical activity[1] . For example: worrying that they might harm the baby or themselves, worrying about which forms of activity are safe, or concerns related to their pelvic floor and leakage.

Anxiety about what is and isn’t safe to do when pregnant and after childbirth is one of many factors, alongside fatigue and childcare responsibilities, that can prevent these women from being physically active. However, being active during pregnancy and postnatally can be hugely beneficial in supporting both the physical and mental health of mothers. Regular activity improves emotional wellbeing, reduces depression and hypertensive disorders, and reduces the risk of developing gestational diabetes[1].

In response, the award-winning This Girl Can is launching a new campaign, ‘Active Mums Start With You’. The campaign is designed to support GPs, Midwives and Health Visitors to proactively talk to and advise pregnant women and new mothers about activity in order to build their confidence and provide advice if they’re unsure what is safe to do. Healthcare professionals can have a positive influence on people’s activity levels, with 74% of women surveyed saying that they felt, or would have felt, more reassured to become or stay active as a result of receiving safety advice or encouragement from a healthcare professional.

A survey conducted with 393 midwives and health visitors indicated that 33% rarely or never talked about or gave advice on getting active to pregnant women –  and 27% rarely or never gave advice to new mums[2].

Previous research with healthcare professionals, focusing on GPs, has found that omitting to discuss physical activity in appointments is often down to lack of time, knowledge & skills, confidence in raising physical activity and a lack of training[[3]][[4]] . There are also many other important topics to raise with pregnant women and new mothers, with appointment times often being brief and time pressures exacerbated by the pandemic.

The campaign features imagery showing pregnant women and new mothers getting active in a variety of dynamic but safe ways – and reminds professionals of the positive influence they can have, stating that “active mums start with you.” The campaign links to a wide range of resources and training materials which support GPs, Midwives and Health Visitors to have these conversations. These include training that has been developed as part of the This Mum Moves project[5] as well as a brand-new series of resources developed by the Active Pregnancy Foundation in collaboration with experts, which provide guidance on popular activities such as resistance training, dance and yoga for pregnant women and new mothers.

Webinar for healthcare professionals

To support the launch of the Sport England and This Girl Can healthcare professional-focused campaign, Active Mums Start With You, the Active Pregnancy Foundation and Institute of Health Visiting (iHV) are delighted to bring you a live webinar on the importance of healthcare professionals’ role in supporting and promoting active lifestyles during and beyond pregnancy.

You will be given an overview of:

  • Current guidance
  • Resources
  • Opportunities to support your practice

We will also be sharing the next steps in the This Mum Moves programme, including new training events for March 2022.

DATE: 9 December 2021

TIME: 15:00 – 16:00


Limited places available!


[1] Methodology: Savanta ComRes interviewed 1,097 Women in the UK between 19th and 21st November 2021. This included: 122 Pregnant and/or new mothers with children under 1. Data was weighted to be demographically representative of the UK population by gender, age, region, and social grade. Savanta ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

[2] spear (2018-2021), This Mum Moves Final Report, survey with 393 midwives and health visitors

[3] AuYoung M, Linke SE, Pagoto S, Buman MP, Craft LL, Richardson CR, Hutber A, Marcus BH, Estabrooks P, Sheinfeld Gorin S. Integrating physical activity in primary care practice. Am J Med. 2016;129(10):1022–9.

[4] Chatterjee R, Chapman T, Brannan MG, Varney J. GPs’ knowledge, use, and confidence in national physical activity and health guidelines and tools: a questionnaire-based survey of general practice in England. Br J Gen Pract. 2017;67(663):e668-e675. doi:10.3399/bjgp17X692513

[5] The This Mum Moves project was developed by ukactive, Canterbury Christ Church University and the Institute of Health Visiting