A critical analysis of the factors influencing antenatal and postnatal self-reported diets of primagravid women
The study examines the perceptions of diet and nutrition and measures the nutritional consumption of primagravid women, during pregnancy and post partum. The aim was to establish the nutritional knowledge and nutritional status of such women, based on self-reported diet diaries. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected from a sample of 39 primagravid women recruited from five general medical practices in Wiltshire, England, United Kingdom. Thirty-nine participants took part in the study during the first trimester of pregnancy and 37 continued in the study to six months post partum, keeping a self-reported diet diary for one week at the end of the first trimester, third trimester and six months post partum. At the same points in time, participants completed a Likert scale questionnaire based on the Theory of Planned Behaviour (Ajzen, 1985) that measured attitudes and intentions towards eating habits during pregnancy. Interviewer administered questionnaires were conducted at each time point to assess the participants socio-economic status and nutritional knowledge. The self-reported diet diaries were analysed using Dietplan software that measures nutritional intake based on Recommended Daily Allowances (RDAs). Results indicate that some women had under-consumption of a number of nutrients pre and post partum while some participants over-consumed a number of nutrients during their pregnancy. There were gaps in the nutritional knowledge of some participants, suggesting that revised nutritional educational policies should be introduced. Time was the major determinant of poor nutrition post partum, suggesting a need for time management and educational interventions for primagravid women. Small hospitals with Baby Friendly Accreditation were rated more positively than large general hospitals. These results suggest a need for larger hospitals to work towards Baby Friendly Accreditation. The study ascertained that there is a scarcity of research into the effects of over-consumption of nutrients during pregnancy and a recommendation is made to address this issue. A further recommendation is that modifications should be made to the Theory of Planned Behaviour (Ajzen, 1985) on the basis of the findings of this study which suggest that the model should be looked at in reverse, as the influence of a number of factors reduced over time. A modified model of the Theory of Planned Behaviour (Ajzen, 1985) is proposed.