Determinants of Changes in Women's and Men's Physical Activity and Sedentary Behavior across the Transition to Parenthood: A Focus Group Study

Vickà Versele, Femke Marijn Stok, Anna Dieberger, Tom Deliens, Dirk Aerenhouts, Benedicte Deforche, Annick Bogaerts, Roland Devlieger, Peter Clarys

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Becoming a parent may cohere with drastic changes in physical activity (PA) and sedentary behavior (SB). A clear understanding of determinants of changes in PA and SB during pregnancy and postpartum is needed to facilitate the development of tailored family-based interventions.

METHODS: Thirteen focus group discussions targeting determinants of changes in PA and SB behavior were conducted, involving a total of 74 expecting and first-time parents. A semi-structured question guide was used to facilitate the discussions.

RESULTS: Four main levels of determinants were identified: the individual (including psychological, situational and biological determinants), interpersonal, environmental and policy level. Some determinants were mentioned to be a barrier (e.g., "barriers to self-care") while others were a facilitator (e.g., "weight control"). Determinants were related to both PA and SB and applicable during pregnancy as well as postpartum (e.g., "self-regulation"), or only related to one behavior and/or one period (e.g., "feeding baby"). Some were described by both parents (e.g., "parenthood perceptions"), whereas others were mentioned by women (e.g., "PA knowledge") or men (e.g., "time opportunities") only.

CONCLUSIONS: Focus should be given to interventions aimed at improving parents' self-regulation skills and support on how to cope with interpersonal and situational constraints as well as parenthood perceptions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2421
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages24
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 19 Feb 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: This research was supported by a research grant from The Research Foundation—Flanders (Fonds voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (FWO)) with project number FWO: G033418 N. R.D. is holder of a FWO Fundamental Clinical Investigatorship with number 1803311 N. Contact information: Egmontstraat 5, 1000 Brussel. Telephone: +32-2-512-91-10. Email: A.D. is funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF; DOC 31-B26) and the Medical University of Graz through the PhD programme Inflammatory Disorders in Pregnancy (DP-iDP).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

Copyright 2022 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Men
  • Postpartum Period
  • Pregnancy
  • Sedentary Behavior


Dive into the research topics of 'Determinants of Changes in Women's and Men's Physical Activity and Sedentary Behavior across the Transition to Parenthood: A Focus Group Study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this