South Asian women’s views and experiences of weight, diet and physical activity changes before, during and after pregnancy
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AbstractBeing pregnant and becoming a parent is a crucial time when lifestyle behaviours may change and weight gain and retention may occur. This point in the life cycle presents a critical opportunity to advise and support South Asian women, who have a high risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus at lower BMIs, in order to reduce health inequalities, prevent ill health and improve health outcomes in this group. However, interventions necessitate an understanding of the factors affecting weight during this time, yet, to date, there is a lack of evidence in this field. The retrospective exploration of South Asian women’s views and experiences of weight, diet and physical activity changes before, during and after pregnancy and the possible implications of these changes for healthcare services and interventions. Ten South Asian women with a child between 7-24 months of age, living in Bolton, Greater Manchester, participated in a semi-structured, one-to-one interview. The interviews developed a detailed insight into weight, diet and physical activity changes before, during and after pregnancy and the factors impacting on these. Transcripts were analysed using phenomenological approaches. Respondent validation was used to confirm the findings. Interviews primarily took place in participants’ homes, although health, community and children’s centres were also utilised. The findings helped to develop an understanding of the factors influencing weight, diet and physical activity changes before, during and after pregnancy in a group of South Asian women. The findings suggested that views and experiences, and hence motivators and barriers, of change are not static across pregnancy and the post-partum period. Prior to conception, women felt in control of their weight and therefore following a healthy lifestyle was of little importance. During pregnancy, healthy behaviours were difficult to make and sustain and weight gain was perceived to be uncontrollable. The post-partum period was an important time to make positive behaviour changes but women also faced significant barriers to change during this time, particularly when breastfeeding, and South Asian women appeared to face additional cultural barriers. A lack of advice and support from healthcare professionals during and after pregnancy was also reported and consequently important opportunities to encourage positive behaviour change and overcome barriers to change in this group were missed. Conclusion: Maternity services which aim to advise and support South Asian women in the areas of weight, diet and physical activity before, during and after pregnancy must consider the factors influencing them during this time.
PublisherUniversity of Chester
TypeThesis or dissertation
SponsorsBolton NHS Foundation Trust
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