South Auckland women’s knowledge of nutrition and physical activity during pregnancy

30 March 2016

A new study provides valuable insight into the knowledge and beliefs of South Auckland women about nutrition and physical activity during pregnancy.

The study, published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, surveyed more than 400 pregnant South Auckland women.

More than 70% of the women questioned were classified as overweight or obese.  Around 20% were Maori, 40% Pacific, 13% Asian and 21% European or other.

The survey found that that most women had received information about healthy eating in pregnancy, with more than 95% having received some material.

However, the study found that Maori and Pacific women in particular reported that they were more likely to eat unhealthy foods than other ethnic groups.

The authors note that despite most women receiving information about health eating, nearly half reported eating more during pregnancy, with the most common reasons being ‘cravings’ and ‘eating for two’.

The authors say these findings suggest that intervention strategies in pregnant women should focus on managing cravings and talking about the belief that it’s necessary to “eat for two” when pregnant.

The study also found that women who reported consuming takeaways recognised that their diet was unhealthy.  The authors suggest using the Healthy Start Workforce’s healthy conversation skills to assist pregnant women to set goals, plan and cook healthier meals that may reduce frequency of takeaways.

The research found that most women had some knowledge of safe levels of physical activity during pregnancy and that walking was the most common form of physical activity.

Most women also reported a willingness to be involved nutrition intervention designed to improve nutrition and physical activity during pregnancy. The main reason for participation would be ‘to improve their health and the health of their baby’.

Read more about this study here and find out more about Healthy Conversation Skills here.