Feeling good about yourself? An exploration of Fitbit “New Moms community” as an emergent space for online biosociality.

Viviana Alma De Silva (Corresponding Author), Wendy Lowe

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Historically, some of the key roles of the physiotherapist postpartum are to assess new mothers on their reduction of diastasis rectus abdominus, encourage pelvic floor exercises to reduce the likelihood of stress incontinence, promote good posture during breastfeeding, address any lingering pain issues from childbirth, and encourage a return to mobility and exercise. However, with the rise of technology-associated community exercise forums (such as FitBit), more and more new mothers are turning to each other to increase their motivation and inspire other mums to return to pre-baby fitness levels, often without the support and guidance of physiotherapists or other health professionals. These self-selected forums/communities provide a different type of platform for negotiating a potentially daunting return to social activities for often house-bound new mothers. Therefore, this research questioned how new mothers used the FitBit community to increase their motivation to return to pre-baby fitness levels, what some of the consequences of this were, and how physiotherapists can learn from this through a critical analysis of this space. A praxiographic design was applied looking specifically for different online social dimensions where motivation, and knowledge about return to pre-baby fitness levels, are practised, communicated, and co-constructed on/with the body. Thirteen participants agreed to take part and allowed access to their online postings over a four-month period, from June to September 2019. We used a feminist post-structuralist lens to analyse discourses, as well as drawing on praxiography as a way to include the materiality of the body. We identified three main discourses at work: competition and self-policing, wanting to feel good about yourself, and their sense and/or physical accomplishments (photographs). Physiotherapists can draw on critical analyses to enhance their practice and complement online communities’ activities.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMobilising Knowledge in Physiotherapy: critical reflections on foundations and practices
Subtitle of host publicationA second CRITICAL physiotherapy reader
EditorsDavid A Nicholls, Karen Synne Groven, Elizabeth Kinsella, Rani Anjum
Place of PublicationOxford, United Kingdom
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)978-0-367-85533-8
ISBN (Print)978-0-367-52818-1
Publication statusPublished - 26 Oct 2020


  • Biosocial theory
  • Professional identity formation
  • Physical Activity
  • health professional education
  • mother's views
  • feminist theory


Dive into the research topics of 'Feeling good about yourself? An exploration of Fitbit “New Moms community” as an emergent space for online biosociality.'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this