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Mums in Motion project supports women across the Bay of Plenty

Monday, October 12, 2020

The benefits of physical activity in and around pregnancy are well documented, but mothers-to-be often shy away from exercise for fear they’ll do harm, or they simply don’t know where to start.

To address those concerns, and better support the needs of pre and postnatal women across the Bay of Plenty, Sport Bay of Plenty ran a two-year Mums in Motion project. The project, funded by Bay Brighter Futures (now Bay Trust and the Rotorua Energy Charitable Trust), supported the development of quality physical activity options and improved the maternal health referral pathways to the existing Green Prescription healthy lifestyle programme.

Maternal Health_web

Sport Bay of Plenty’s health team leader Larissa Cuff says the project has had a big impact on helping everyone in the maternal health system better understand the benefits and opportunities around pre and postnatal physical activity.

“As a result of the project, over 230 mums aged 16 to 44 were connected with quality information, resources and activities to support their physical wellbeing pre- and post-birth.

“One of the highlights of the project was collaborating with five aquatic centres across the Bay of Plenty to establish new Aqua Mums classes. Prior to this collaboration no such classes existed in the Bay of Plenty that catered specifically to the needs of pregnant women.”

Two years on and more than 140 mums have participated in an Aqua Mums class, and 27 community physical activity providers have been added to a new ‘pregnant and new mums’ category on Sport Bay of Plenty’s Get Involved Activity Directory.

Alongside the establishment of the aqua classes, maternal health advisor Lizzy Horlock has also worked tirelessly behind the scenes to develop relationships with lead maternity carers, promote the benefits of physical activity and strengthen the referral pathways into the existing Green Prescription healthy lifestyle programme.

As the project came to a close at the end of the 2019 financial year, Lizzy managed to sign-off with the establishment of online resources to help professionals, services, facilitators and exercise providers safely support mums to be active now and into the future.

“We worked with six leading Bay of Plenty maternal health experts – a perinatal and infant maternal health nurse, maternal social worker, women’s health physiotherapists and an exercise provider who specialises in the safe return to exercise – to collate information and resources that will ensure mums can continue to learn about the benefits of physical activity, and anyone working with pre and postnatal women can develop a better understanding of their unique wants and needs.”

To find expert advice from providers working with mums, or if you’d like to know more about the benefits and options for physical activity for pre and postnatal mums, visit> sportbop.co.nz/maternalhealthadvice

Get Involved Directory - activities for pregnant and new mums

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