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Improving pregnant women's diet and physical activity behaviours: The emerging role of health identity

Improving pregnant women's diet and physical activity behaviours: The emerging role of health identity
Improving pregnant women's diet and physical activity behaviours: The emerging role of health identity
Background: women who gain too much weight in pregnancy are at increased risk of disease and of having children with increased risk. Interventions to improve health behaviours are usually designed for a general population of pregnant women, and trial outcomes show an average impact that does not represent the differences between individuals. To inform the development of future interventions, this study explored the factors that influenced women’s diet and physical activity during pregnancy and aimed to identify the needs of these women with regards to lifestyle support.

Methods: women who completed a trial of vitamin D supplementation and nurse support in pregnancy were invited to take part in an interview. Seventeen women were interviewed about their lifestyles during pregnancy, the support they had, and the support they wanted. Interview transcripts were coded thematically and analysed to understand the factors that influenced the diets and physical activity levels of these women and their engagement with resources that could provide support.

Results: women identified barriers to eating well or being physically active, and pregnancy-specific issues like nausea and pain were common. Women’s interest in maintaining a healthy lifestyle and their engagement with lifestyle support was related to the extent to which they self-identified as healthy people. Health-disengaged women were disinterested in talking about their lifestyles while health-focused women did not feel that they needed extra support. Women between these ends of the ‘health identity’ spectrum were interested in improving their health, and were able to identify barriers as well as sources of support.

Conclusions: lifestyle interventions in pregnancy should be adapted to meet the needs of individuals with different health identities, and encouraging a change in health identity may be one way of supporting sustained change in health behaviours.
Behaviour change, Diet, Health behaviour, Identity, Intervention, Physical activity, Pregnancy, Thematic analysis
1471-2393
Morris, Taylor
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Strommer, Sofia
a025047e-effa-4481-9bf4-48da1668649e
Vogel, Christina
768f1dcd-2697-4aae-95cc-ee2f6d63dff5
Harvey, Nicholas
ce487fb4-d360-4aac-9d17-9466d6cba145
Cooper, Cyrus
e05f5612-b493-4273-9b71-9e0ce32bdad6
Inskip, Hazel
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Woods-Townsend, Kathryn
af927fa3-30b6-47d9-8b4d-4d254b3a7aab
Baird, Janis
f4bf2039-6118-436f-ab69-df8b4d17f824
Barker, Mary
374310ad-d308-44af-b6da-515bf5d2d6d2
Lawrence, Wendy
e9babc0a-02c9-41df-a289-7b18f17bf7d8
Morris, Taylor
ad05dc29-02db-434e-8f06-e88bf09d5adb
Strommer, Sofia
a025047e-effa-4481-9bf4-48da1668649e
Vogel, Christina
768f1dcd-2697-4aae-95cc-ee2f6d63dff5
Harvey, Nicholas
ce487fb4-d360-4aac-9d17-9466d6cba145
Cooper, Cyrus
e05f5612-b493-4273-9b71-9e0ce32bdad6
Inskip, Hazel
5fb4470a-9379-49b2-a533-9da8e61058b7
Woods-Townsend, Kathryn
af927fa3-30b6-47d9-8b4d-4d254b3a7aab
Baird, Janis
f4bf2039-6118-436f-ab69-df8b4d17f824
Barker, Mary
374310ad-d308-44af-b6da-515bf5d2d6d2
Lawrence, Wendy
e9babc0a-02c9-41df-a289-7b18f17bf7d8

Morris, Taylor, Strommer, Sofia, Vogel, Christina, Harvey, Nicholas, Cooper, Cyrus, Inskip, Hazel, Woods-Townsend, Kathryn, Baird, Janis, Barker, Mary and Lawrence, Wendy (2020) Improving pregnant women's diet and physical activity behaviours: The emerging role of health identity. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, 20 (1), [244]. (doi:10.1186/s12884-020-02913-z).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Background: women who gain too much weight in pregnancy are at increased risk of disease and of having children with increased risk. Interventions to improve health behaviours are usually designed for a general population of pregnant women, and trial outcomes show an average impact that does not represent the differences between individuals. To inform the development of future interventions, this study explored the factors that influenced women’s diet and physical activity during pregnancy and aimed to identify the needs of these women with regards to lifestyle support.

Methods: women who completed a trial of vitamin D supplementation and nurse support in pregnancy were invited to take part in an interview. Seventeen women were interviewed about their lifestyles during pregnancy, the support they had, and the support they wanted. Interview transcripts were coded thematically and analysed to understand the factors that influenced the diets and physical activity levels of these women and their engagement with resources that could provide support.

Results: women identified barriers to eating well or being physically active, and pregnancy-specific issues like nausea and pain were common. Women’s interest in maintaining a healthy lifestyle and their engagement with lifestyle support was related to the extent to which they self-identified as healthy people. Health-disengaged women were disinterested in talking about their lifestyles while health-focused women did not feel that they needed extra support. Women between these ends of the ‘health identity’ spectrum were interested in improving their health, and were able to identify barriers as well as sources of support.

Conclusions: lifestyle interventions in pregnancy should be adapted to meet the needs of individuals with different health identities, and encouraging a change in health identity may be one way of supporting sustained change in health behaviours.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 29 March 2020
e-pub ahead of print date: 25 April 2020
Keywords: Behaviour change, Diet, Health behaviour, Identity, Intervention, Physical activity, Pregnancy, Thematic analysis

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 440534
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/440534
ISSN: 1471-2393
PURE UUID: b263ab37-6cfb-497a-a396-603a607b8520
ORCID for Christina Vogel: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-3897-3786
ORCID for Nicholas Harvey: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-8194-2512
ORCID for Cyrus Cooper: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-3510-0709
ORCID for Hazel Inskip: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-8897-1749
ORCID for Kathryn Woods-Townsend: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-3376-6988
ORCID for Janis Baird: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-4039-4361
ORCID for Mary Barker: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-2976-0217
ORCID for Wendy Lawrence: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-1264-0438

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 07 May 2020 16:30
Last modified: 26 Nov 2021 02:55

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Contributors

Author: Taylor Morris
Author: Sofia Strommer
Author: Christina Vogel ORCID iD
Author: Nicholas Harvey ORCID iD
Author: Cyrus Cooper ORCID iD
Author: Hazel Inskip ORCID iD
Author: Janis Baird ORCID iD
Author: Mary Barker ORCID iD
Author: Wendy Lawrence ORCID iD

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