Table 4

Qualitative behavioural analysis 

DefinitionSummaryParticipant quote 
Capability: individual’s physical and psychological capacity to engage in the behaviour
Psychological:
capacity to engage in necessary thought processes
Need knowledge of local activity opportunities suitable for postnatal women. ‘I wouldn’t have found out about Bounce without the other girls…so making sure they’re advertised through baby groups or children’s centres,’
P02, Moderately active, 1 child, age 7–9 months
Need to know about easy and manageable activities that are safe and aid recovery from birth. ‘with the recovery and getting back to exercise now, it’s all like I want to get there, or I want to get to the first week really, but what’s all the steps leading up to that?’
P05, Invalid IPAQ data, 2 children, age 0–3 months
Physical:
capacity to engage in the necessary physical processes
C-section or complicated births limit some specific movements in the early postnatal period, for example, lifting, pushing a pram downhill. ‘roads are a bit of an issue at the moment pushing the pram because the big movement that I can’t do having had the C-section is pushing down on the pram to lift the wheels up to get up a kerb.’
P05, Invalid IPAQ data, 2 children, age 0–3 months
Reduced stamina following childbirth and need for exercises that aid recovery. ‘It was actually far more tough than I realised, C-Section and getting back on your feet and going for walks. It took me ages actually.’
P07, Highly active, 1 child, age 4–6 months
Opportunity: all factors lying outside the individual that make performance of the behaviour possible or prompt it
Social:
cultural milieu that dictates the way we think about things
Family and partner provide encouragement to be active. ‘he wants me to go out and he wants me to sort of, spend that time with her, with my daughter and sort of out with other friends just to make sure that I’m not at home on my own.’
P02, Moderately active, 1 child, age 7–9 months
Postnatal women need opportunity to be part of a group, to create accountability and provide encouragement. ‘If there was a group of people I’d be quite happy to meet up with them, because again it’s a social thing. But if I was going on my own I’d do it probably once or twice and then think ‘oh I can’t be bothered now.’
P06, Low active, 1 child, aged 7–9 months
Want to be active with other new mothers who understand their current situations. ‘you’re all looking a bit flabby and horrible and you don’t care cause you’re all in it together you know. If I was going to go and join some aerobics class I think I’d feel quite unfit by comparison but cause it’s a postnatal class everyone’s in the same boat.’
P04, Moderately active, 1 child, aged 4–6 months
Physical:
physical opportunity provided by the environment
Need to ensure that the baby is cared for either through the provision of childcare or PA that involves the baby. ‘then suddenly thought, ‘I can’t go cause I’ve got the baby, I just can’t do it’ and I thought ‘noooo’.’
P07, Highly active, 1 child, age 4–6 months
Partners are the main source of childcare, mainly in the evening. ‘I can’t get childcare for her unless my partners at home, so as soon as he comes in I would go out to the gym if there was something that I enjoyed,’
P06, Low active, 1 child, aged 7–9 months
Need activity options where they can take the baby, instructor/teacher creates a culture where they feel comfortable to tend to baby’s needs. ‘it’s really important to be able to bring the baby, because not being able to do that immediately excludes a lot of people’
P07, Highly active, 1 child, age 4–6 months
‘like a physical trainer, but maybe a bit more lenient and understanding about mother caring and all that and yeah, I don’t know. Someone that knows and like understands it,’
P10, Moderately active, 1 child, aged 4–6 months
Classes should not clash with other activities, should be local and affordable and/or offer flexible payment options. ‘So times conflicting, so when you first have the baby, obviously, you like, you try and do all the activities you can and I always found that all the activities always ended up on the same day, everything would be at the same time on the same day…you pay for sessions, most things you pay for like a block of classes and then the baby is sick for like, a couple of weeks or has really bad diarrhoea and you think ‘I can’t take him’ and you end up missing stuff and everything’s really expensive for stuff you don’t do.’
P07, Highly active, 1 child, age 4–6 months
Not comfortable leaving babies in a separate crèche. ‘They always seem to be sort of somewhere else, which I wouldn’t feel comfortable with, just leaving him in the care of somebody else, I don’t know I just wouldn’t feel comfortable with that’
P09, Moderately active, 1 child age 4–6 months
Child-friendly activities above are not available, sell out immediately or are too expensive. ‘the only one I found that had spaces, that’s the other thing—a few of them are cheaper, but they sell out immediately, were more than £14 a lesson, and I just couldn’t justify that kind of price.’
P07, Highly active, 1 child, age 4–6 months
Need accessible and pleasant walking routes—good pavements or footpaths, safe and greenspace. ‘for me to going for walks it’s the fact I have nice places to walk, safe places to walk and well lit places to walk.’
P07, Highly active, 1 child, age 4–6 months
Bad weather—rain, dark, cold, puts new mothers off doing activities outdoors, especially when the baby is also exposed to the weather. ‘I didn’t go out for a walk the other day because it was raining, and like the effort of having to go upstairs and find the rain covers and knowing how wet it would be and everything else I didn’t bother, that was a big impact.’
P05, Invalid IPAQ data, 2 children, age 0–3 months
Breastfeeding means the baby needs to be with mothers at all times, especially during early stages when their feeding routines are unpredictable. ‘I’d feel guilty in case he didn’t want to take the bottle and he wanted the breast and then he was crying.’
P03, Moderately active, 1 child, aged 4–6 months
Feel too tired to take part in PA. ‘the last couple of nights he’s been up every forty five minutes. Just to get through the day is a challenge so, I just don’t have the energy. I don’t have the energy until his sleeping improves I just don’t have the energy to do extra.’
P03, Moderately active, 1 child, aged 4–6 months
When doing PA, the baby can disrupt the activity, for example, climbing all over them, or crying and being discontent. ‘I wouldn’t be able to do anything at home. She’s just on the go all the time. She tries to climb my legs, um, so anything like that where I’ve got to move my legs it wouldn’t be possible, because she’s up them.’
P06, Low active, 1 child, aged 7–9 months
Motivation: all brain processes that energise and direct behaviour
Automatic:  emotions and impulses arising from associative learning and/or innate dispositions Social interaction with other adults is a motivation for being active. ‘having normal conversations with people. Even like walking to the post office and back and saying hi to the person behind the till was important in those early weeks.’
P04, Moderately active, 1 child, aged 4–6 months
New mothers need to get out of the house and get some fresh air. ‘being able to get outside, a lot of the time I’m you know in the fresh air, and just enjoying the outside.’
P08, Moderately active, 1 child, 4–6 months
Want to take part in PA that is fun and enjoyable. ‘it’s about having fun isn’t it, as well as exercising. If I’m not having fun, I’m not going to carry on doing it.’
P06, Low active, 1 child, aged 7–9 months
Reflective:  evaluations and plans New mothers understand physical and mental health benefits of PA. ‘it just makes me feel better and it lifts my mood. Just my general, generally happier. I just feel more motivated to do anything and everything. I feel very lazy without it.’
P09, Moderately active, 1 child age 4–6 months
Sense of responsibility to set a good example to children and to be healthy as the children grow up. ‘it helps them to see as they grow up that that’s what you’ve got to do. You know, there’s no sitting on computers all day’
P01, Invalid IPAQ data, 1 child, 10–12 months
‘I’m 35, so I’m an older mum, and I want to make sure I’m fit and healthy to keep up with her.’
P04, Moderately active, 1 child, aged 4–6 months
Time away from the baby creates a fear that they may miss out on child development or ‘mum guilt’ for leaving the baby when it may need soothing. ‘he’s doing all new things at the minute and he’s learning things off of me, so I think I need to be around him at the minute.’
P11, Moderately active, 1 child, 7–9 months
‘because it’s in the evening now, he’s a nightmare in the evening and I think I’d just feel guilty leaving him.’
P03, Moderately active, 1 child, 4–6 months
Other priorities, for example, baby/family, housework and sleep compete for mothers’ time, money and energy. They need to feel that PA is a priority. ‘It’s the family time or your exercise and I’d rather spend time with my family than go to an exercise class for an hour.’
P11, Moderately active, 1 child, 7–9 months
‘I could do it if I didn’t do some other stuff but then I just feel that’s prob… that’s more important. Because if that doesn’t get done, then that’s going to affect me more than if I don’t exercise probably?’
P09, Moderately active, 1 child age 4–6 months