Efficacy of physical activity interventions in post-natal populations: systematic review, meta-analysis and content coding of behaviour change techniques

Alyssa S. Gilinsky, Hannah Dale, C. Robinson, Adrienne Hughes, Rhona J. McInnes, David Lavallee

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23 Citations (Scopus)


This systematic review and meta-analysis reports the efficacy of post-natal physical activity change interventions with content coding of behaviour change techniques (BCTs). Electronic databases (MEDLINE, CINAHL and PsychINFO) were searched for interventions published from January 1980 to July 2013. Inclusion criteria were: (i) interventions including ≥1 BCT designed to change physical activity behaviour, (ii) studies reporting ≥1 physical activity outcome, (iii) interventions commencing later than four weeks after childbirth and (iv) studies including participants who had given birth within the last year. Controlled trials were included in the meta-analysis. Interventions were coded using the 40-item Coventry, Aberdeen & London - Refined (CALO-RE) taxonomy of BCTs and study quality assessment was conducted using Cochrane criteria. Twenty studies were included in the review (meta-analysis: n = 14). Seven were interventions conducted with healthy inactive post-natal women. Nine were post-natal weight management studies. Two studies included women with post-natal depression. Two studies focused on improving general well-being. Studies in healthy populations but not for weight management successfully changed physical activity. Interventions increased frequency but not volume of physical activity or walking behaviour. Efficacious interventions always included the BCTs ‘goal setting (behaviour)’ and ‘prompt self-monitoring of behaviour’.
Original languageEnglish
JournalHealth Psychology Review
Early online date2 Apr 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • physical activity
  • post-natal women
  • weight management
  • behaviour change techniques

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