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Postpartum mental health is a significant concern in ethnically diverse priority groups, where challenges that negatively affect mental health can be complex and multi-layered. In 2007, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommended exercise as a non-pharmacological strategy to ameliorate postpartum mental health problems.Evidence on exercise for postpartum populations is too sparse to inform service development, particularly in deprived, ethnically diverse communities in the UK. This study explored factors relating to exercise to promote postpartum mental health in priority groups. The study design was influenced by the principles of grounded theory. Data were collected through focus groups and interviews from 25 women in an ethnically diverse area of multiple deprivation. Participants were end users, health and community professionals, service providers andcommissioners. Four core categories emerged, namely postpartum exercise (which included the content, culture and setting of exercise), beliefs and values (which reflected how postpartum women made decisions about health), support and influence (which explored the independence, dependence and interdependence that shaped relationships and choice), and planning and resources (which related to the practicalities involved in designing, developing and sustaining effective interventions). The findings indicate that wide-ranging factors influence exercise for postpartum women in ethnically diverse priority groups. They integrate practical considerations, social–cognitive factors such as exercise competency and socio-cultural influences. These influences include familial, religious and cultural factors relevant to exercise, mental health, the postpartum stage and health promotion in general.