Objective: To explore the influence of a life event (pregnancy) on nutrition awareness and the motivations for nutrition behaviour.
Study design: In-depth, face-to-face interviews with five groups of 12 women: women wishing to conceive a child, women in the first, second, and third trimesters of their first pregnancy, and women in the first trimester of their second pregnancy. As is common in qualitative research, participants were selected on the basis of diversity together with maximum representativeness within normal populations with respect to socio-demographic characteristics.
Results: With respect to nutrition awareness, three groups of women can be distinguished: (1) those who are 'going all the way'; these women try to live precisely by the book, (2) those who are 'taking the flexible way'; these women are more aware of their nutrition, but are more flexible in handling it, and (3) women who 'continue the same way'; these women have a no-nonsense mentality and do not experience essential shifts in their nutrition awareness. The extent and fluctuations in nutrition awareness throughout preconception and pregnancy are based on three types of motivations, the interest of (1) the child, (2) the mother, and (3) the social environment.
Conclusions: This study provides indications that preconception and pregnancy could indeed be a life event leading to increased general nutrition awareness that might influence women's future nutrition-related behaviours.