Young women's and midwives' perspectives on improving nutritional support in pregnancy: The babies, eating, and LifestyLe in adolescence (BELLA) study

STRÖMMER, S., WELLER, S., MORRISON, L., SOLTANI, Hora, STEPHENSON, J., WHITWORTH, M., RUNDLE, Rachel, BREWIN, J., POSTON, L., LAWRENCE, W. and BARKER, M. (2021). Young women's and midwives' perspectives on improving nutritional support in pregnancy: The babies, eating, and LifestyLe in adolescence (BELLA) study. Social Science and Medicine, 274, p. 113781.

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Rationale: Teenage pregnancy has a high risk of poor outcomes for both mother and baby. Teenage girls have the poorest diets of any population group in the UK, which compounds the risk of poor pregnancy outcomes. Pregnant teenagers trust advice from their midwives, but midwives feel they do not have time, confidence, or knowledge to discuss nutrition. Objective: This study examined how the relationship between pregnant teenagers and their midwives could be utilised to deliver support to improve diet quality. Method: Qualitative interviews were conducted across three urban sites in the UK: Manchester, Doncaster, and Southampton with adolescent mothers and their midwives regarding diet and lifestyle, and what form of support would be helpful. In total, 106 young women and 20 midwives were interviewed. Most of the young mothers were 19 or younger (67%). Half had had their first child in the past year (52%) and 21% were pregnant during the study. Thematic analysis was used to identify ways to better support young mothers to eat well. Results: Young women found it difficult to prioritise healthy eating; they often felt isolated and not in control of their own lives and wanted support from their midwife. Midwives felt that it was their role to support young mothers with diet in pregnancy but were anxious about initiating conversations and felt they lacked clear guidance. Conclusions: Pregnant teenagers and their midwives lack reliable resources and strategies for healthy eating support. An effective intervention to improve pregnant teenagers' diet quality must empower, inform, and motivate young mothers and their midwives, and enable connections between young mothers.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Teenage pregnancy; Diet; Nutrition; Midwives; Qualitative study; Diet; Midwives; Nutrition; Qualitative study; Teenage pregnancy; Public Health; 11 Medical and Health Sciences; 14 Economics; 16 Studies in Human Society
Identification Number:
Page Range: p. 113781
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 11 May 2021 10:48
Last Modified: 17 Feb 2022 01:18

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