Abstract

Background: The foundations for child health begin in pregnancy and pre-conception. However, little is known about how health professionals advise prospective parents regarding nutritional needs.
Aims: To understand: (a) The facilitators and barriers to healthy food and diet practices during pre-conception and pregnancy; (b) how the barrier(s) to healthy diets can be addressed; (c) the changes required to facilitate good food practices.
Methods: Three focus groups and four interviews were conducted with 12 United Kingdom professional representatives working within health or dietary/nutrition contexts. Data was thematically analysed with three themes emerging.
Findings: Participants reported that expectant parents need to understand what healthy eating means; they suggested that health professionals themselves require more nutrition-related education to maximise health promotion opportunities; they thought that a key barrier to healthy eating was a lack of commitment by expectant parents to prepare nutritious meals.
Conclusions: There is a need for clear, consistent, engaging and culturally appropriate dietary information as well as access to professionals who can give both generic and tailored advice.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Health Visiting
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 12 Feb 2024

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