Other Subject Area

Prenatal Exercise and Postpartum Experience


International Journal of Exercise Science 16(3): 1-11, 2023. Lifestyle interventions focusing on prenatal physical activity (PA) and healthy nutritional habits can carry forward into the postpartum period. As many health resources, like PA facilities and postpartum support groups, were inaccessible due to the Coronavirus-19 (COVID-19) pandemic restrictions, it may be plausible that individuals who participated in a prenatal lifestyle intervention continued engaging in positive health behaviours on their own. This study explored experiences of postpartum individuals during the pandemic who had engaged in a prenatal PA and nutrition program prior to COVID-19. Semi-structured interviews were completed with postpartum individuals following a qualitative description approach. The study objectives were to identify and summarize the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on PA and nutritional behaviours postpartum, and the role of previous participation in a prenatal lifestyle intervention, pre-pandemic, on PA and nutritional habits during postpartum quarantine restrictions. Thirteen participants completed interviews and reported that overall, PA levels stayed the same however, there was a change in PA type, as walking became the prominent choice of PA. Diet became more limited and involved a great deal of meal planning. Participation in a prenatal lifestyle intervention prior to the pandemic positively impacted PA and nutritional habits postpartum during COVID-19 restrictions. Specifically, it enabled individuals to implement walking as a daily PA habit and encouraged important concepts such as mindful eating and meal planning. Prenatal lifestyle interventions can be beneficial in establishing healthy postpartum habits, even during pandemic restrictions.