The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP), in collaboration with the Office on Women’s Health (OWH), released new Move Your Way® resources to support women during pregnancy and the postpartum period. We are excited to share these new materials, developed through extensive audience research and user testing with women across the country.
Improving maternal health is a major priority for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Greater physical activity contributes to healthy pregnancies and births, as outlined in HHS’s recent publication, Healthy Women, Healthy Pregnancies, Healthy Futures: Action Plan to Improve Maternal Health in America [PDF - 11.8 MB]. The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Improve Maternal Health [PDF - 6.6 MB] also emphasizes the importance of physical activity. The action plan provides a guide for reducing maternal deaths and disparities that put women at risk before, during, and after pregnancy.
Move Your Way is a multichannel communication campaign developed to promote the recommendations from the second edition of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. The campaign’s free resources — available in English and Spanish — focus on recommendations for kids and teens, adults, parents, and older adults. The addition of these materials specific to the health needs of women who are pregnant and postpartum further expands the audience for the Move Your Way campaign.
“The new Move Your Way resources will play a key role in efforts to encourage women to be active across the lifespan — especially during pregnancy and the postpartum period,” says Dorothy Fink, MD, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Women’s Health and Director of OWH. “Our office is dedicated to improving maternal health outcomes. Increasing physical activity is an important behavior to reduce overall risk, especially for conditions like gestational diabetes and hypertension.”
Motivational Meets Informative
The new resources include posters, fact sheets, videos, social media graphics, and interactive tool content specifically for women during pregnancy or the postpartum period. We also developed a fact sheet for maternal health care providers who play an important role in encouraging physical activity.
We designed the resources to be both informative and motivational, relying on feedback from our target audiences throughout the development process. Pregnancy materials emphasize that there are lots of ways to be physically active, focus on tips for finding activities that are safe and enjoyable, and offer suggestions for starting a conversation about physical activity with a health care provider. Postpartum materials highlight the benefits of regular physical activity after having a baby and focus on tips for finding time to get active during this busy time of life. The materials also direct users to the Move Your Way microsite, where members of the public can learn more and build a personalized weekly activity plan.
Community organizations, health departments, and health care providers can download, print, share, and distribute the new resources to new and expectant mothers in their communities.
Since 2019, ODPHP has worked with 10 community organizations to implement and evaluate the Move Your Way campaign at the local level. Using a community-based prevention marketing approach, organizations personalize implementation of the campaign to their community, capitalizing on local assets and community coalitions.
In 2021, ODPHP, with support from OWH, will pilot a demographically targeted implementation strategy for women who are pregnant and postpartum. “This opportunity to understand how the Move Your Way campaign can be used to promote physical activity in specific populations is an important next step in our efforts to increase the number of Americans meeting the physical activity recommendations,” says CAPT Paul Reed, MD, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention and Director of ODPHP.
To stay up to date on the latest announcements from ODPHP and OWH and learn about future efforts related to Move Your Way and maternal health, follow @HealthGov and @womenshealth on Twitter or sign up for the ODPHP physical activity listserv.