‘Beyond the Bump’: an online wellbeing and lifestyle pilot program during COVID-19 for first year postpartum mothers: a research article

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BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth


Background: Establishing a healthy lifestyle post-delivery is pivotal to reduce the incidence of chronic diseases. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, access to postpartum health programs has been increasingly difficult. The aim of this study was to inform, develop and evaluate Beyond the Bump (BtB); an online program to improve access to health and wellbeing education and support for physical activity in the postpartum. Methods: A three-phase mixed-methods design of a 10-week Australia-wide online pilot program during COVID-19 with women less than 1 year postpartum and their primary care health professionals was utilised. Phase-one: needs assessment focus groups and interviews. Phase-two: BtB program implementation pre-post health measures survey, attendance and engagement with the program. Phase-three: program evaluation with feedback surveys and interviews. Results: Women (n = 12) and health professionals (n = 16) expressed strong need for a postpartum program with access to education from experts on exercise, pelvic floor, sleep and baby nutrition. Despite BtB being developed from women’s suggestions (including time-of-day ‘morning’), attendance to all ten sessions was poor (of 162 registrations; 23% participated in the first session and 5% in the last session). Barriers to attendance included ‘too busy’,‘ forgot’ and ‘topic not relevant for age of child’. 88% of women reported the education as the most enjoyable component of the program. 100% (n = 26) of women interviewed would recommend the program to a friend. Conclusions: There is a continuing need for postpartum support. Online programs with access to expert education and exercise were reported to be of significant interest and value. However, more research is needed to improve the uptake and value placed on mothers’ wellbeing and physical activity.

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