Growing Fit Together: Including Social Support in Prenatal and Postnatal Fitness
Originally Published In
International Journal of Childbirth Education
Exercise during pregnancy supports a variety of positive health outcomes for both mother and child, but less than one-quarter of pregnant women achieve minimum recommendations for physical activity during pregnancy. Research suggests that social support is a valuable strategy for improving exercise adherence. In particular, instrumental (i.e., tangible and concrete) social support improves physical activity behaviors. Friends and family members can support pregnant women and new mothers in regular exercise by offering physical activity social support through providing resources, childcare, and by exercising together. The purpose of this article is to review strategies for including family members in prenatal and postnatal exercise programs.