Counselling on physical activity in Danish antenatal care: A qualitative study of experiences from both the pregnant woman's and the care provider's perspective

Nina Brændstrup, Caroline Borup Roland, Signe de Place Knudsen, Jane M Bendix, Tine D Clausen, Stig Molsted, Bente Stallknecht, Ellen Løkkegaard, Astrid Pernille Jespersen*

*Corresponding author af dette arbejde


OBJECTIVES: Physical activity during pregnancy is beneficial to maternal and fetal health, but most pregnant women do not achieve the recommended level of physical activity. To investigate how antenatal care can promote physical activity during pregnancy, this study explores experiences of physical activity counselling from the perspectives of pregnant women and antenatal care providers.

METHODS: In a qualitative design with an inductive approach individual semi-structured interviews with 19 pregnant women and seven antenatal care providers were performed and analyzed using thematic analysis.

RESULTS: The themes "Experiencing inadequate counselling", "Benefiting from individualized guidance", and "Voicing a need for enhanced support" cover the perspectives from the participating pregnant women. They often experienced insufficient physical activity counselling that left them insecure about proper physical activity during pregnancy. The pregnant women desired individualized and concrete advice and early and continuous support. From antenatal care providers the themes "Providers' perceived barriers in counselling", "Balancing the act of counselling", and "Acknowledging potential for enhanced counselling" were identified. They perceived barriers towards counselling including time restraints, lack of interest, and doubts about certain physical activity during pregnancy but expressed trying to adjust the counselling to meet the woman's individual situation. They acknowledged that continuous support during pregnancy and updated knowledge and increased focus among providers might improve physical activity counselling.

CONCLUSIONS: Pregnant women received scarce counselling on physical activity in antenatal care, while care providers described several barriers towards counselling on physical activity. Both pregnant women and antenatal care providers recognized opportunities for enhanced physical activity counselling.

TidsskriftSexual & reproductive healthcare : official journal of the Swedish Association of Midwives
Sider (fra-til)100902
StatusUdgivet - 2023


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