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Bump start needed: linking guidelines, policy and practice in promoting physical activity during and beyond pregnancy
  1. Hayley Mills1,
  2. Lou Atkinson2,
  3. Ellinor Olander3,
  4. Debbie Smith4,
  5. Louise Hayes5,
  6. Sinead Currie6,
  7. James Newham7,
  8. Charlie Foster8,
  9. Marlize De Vivo1
  1. 1 School of Human and Life Sciences, Canterbury Christ Church University, Canterbury, Kent, UK
  2. 2 Life and Health Sciences, Aston University, Birmingham, UK
  3. 3 School of Health Sciences, City, University of London, London, UK
  4. 4 School of Social and Health Sciences, Leeds Trinity University, Leeds, UK
  5. 5 Institute of Health & Society, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
  6. 6 Division Of Psychology, University of Stirling, Stirling, UK
  7. 7 School Of Life Course Sciences, King's College London, London, UK
  8. 8 Centre for Exercise, Nutrition and Health Sciences, University of Bristol Centre for Exercise Nutrition and Health Sciences, Bristol, Bristol, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Hayley Mills, School of Human and Life Sciences, Canterbury Christ Church University, Canterbury, Kent CT1 1QU, UK; hayley.mills{at}

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There is compelling evidence that regular physical activity (PA) during pregnancy benefits both mother and baby.1 2 Notably, physical and psychological benefits are evident in the literature, such as marked reductions in the development of gestational diabetes and hypertensive disorders, alongside improvements in depressive symptoms and cardiorespiratory fitness.1 2 The evidence base has been reflected by recent policy initiatives, for example, in 2017 (relaunched in 2019), the UK‘s chief medical officers (CMOs) published PA guidelines for pregnant women, which made substantial strides in unifying and translating the evidence into recommendations.1 The CMO guidelines are aimed at supporting health professionals to provide consistent, evidence-based PA messages to women throughout pregnancy.1 Recently, the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity have updated their professional standards for working with antenatal and postnatal clients to align with these CMO guidelines.3 However, not all women have access to professionals with this level of expertise and training, potentially limiting the impact of the CMO guidelines.

Antenatal healthcare professionals, primarily midwives, are the key sources of information for pregnant women in the UK. Although the CMO guidelines are aimed at healthcare professionals, it is unlikely that the guidelines will be integrated into routine practice unless they are …

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  • Contributors Work was initially conceived by HM and MDV. Substantial contributions to the conception of the work were made by all authors. Drafting and revising the work critically was done by all authors. Final approval of the version published was given by all authors. Agreement by all authors to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests CF is the Chair of the UK Chief Medical Officers (CMO) Expert Committee for Physical Activity. HM is the Chair for the Expert Working Group for Postpartum UK CMO physical activity guidelines. MDV is a member of the Expert Working Group for Postpartum UK CMO physical activity guidelines.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.