Women's experiences of dietary advice and dietary changes during pregnancy.

Midwifery

PubMedID: 23427852

Wennberg AL, Lundqvist A, Högberg U, Sandström H, Hamberg K. Women's experiences of dietary advice and dietary changes during pregnancy. Midwifery. 2013;29(9):1027-34.
OBJECTIVE
to describe women's experiences of dietary information and the change of dietary habits during pregnancy.

DESIGN
a qualitative design was used. In 2007 we conducted six focus group interviews using open-ended questions.

SETTINGS
five rural and city antenatal clinics in northern Sweden were included

PARTICIPANTS
twenty-three women in mid-pregnancy participated in groups of three to seven

FINDINGS
three domains were found 'Dietary information gain', 'Reactions to dietary information' and 'Dietary management'. The women had to discover dietary information by themselves, and only when health problems or symptoms occurred did they receive guidance from the midwife. Their reactions to the dietary information were 'being confused', 'feeling fear and guilt' and 'being monitored', summed up in 'being uncertain'. The diet was managed by 'checking food content', 'following bodily signals', 'using common sense', and 'making exceptions', summed up as 'being responsible but with a pinch of salt'.

KEY CONCLUSIONS
the women expressed problems with dietary changes, but they could mostly manage them on their own. The pregnant women experienced that the midwives gave dietary information and advice first when problems arise. When struggling with diet, the women experienced confusion, and they had to seek information by themselves.

IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE
sources of information about diet during pregnancy were experienced as inconsistent and contradictory. Midwives are important in motivation for healthy lifestyle during pregnancy and with sufficient dietary knowledge and counselling skills they can help pregnant women effect dietary changes by providing guidance and support in early pregnancy.