Nutrition-related information-seeking behaviours of women trying to conceive and pregnant women: evidence for the life course perspective

Fam Pract. 2008 Dec:25 Suppl 1:i99-104. doi: 10.1093/fampra/cmn077. Epub 2008 Oct 28.


Objectives: To examine whether preconception and pregnancy could be an occasion triggering women's interest, search and need for both general and pregnancy-specific nutrition-related information, in order to: (i) provide a greater understanding of the life course perspective (in this case on nutrition behaviours and pregnancy) and (ii) to contribute to the rationale of nutrition interventions aimed at women of child-bearing age.

Methods: Data were collected in a cross-sectional study with the aid of a face-to-face interview. The sample consisted of four groups each of about 100 Dutch nulliparous women each: women trying to conceive and women in the first, second or third trimester of their first pregnancy.

Results: Pregnant women were more interested in nutrition information than before preconception and before pregnancy, especially the first-trimester group. The frequency of search for nutrition information differed significantly between the groups: the first-trimester group searched for information most frequently. Women wanting to conceive and women in their third trimester of pregnancy found significantly more pregnancy-specific information topics than women in their first and second trimester of pregnancy. Women wanting to conceive had significantly higher needs for general and specific nutrition-related topics compared to pregnant women. Overall, the Internet, the midwife and books were the favourite information sources.

Conclusions: The study provided indications that preconception and pregnancy are moments in life that lead to an increased interest, need and search for particularly pregnancy-specific nutrition-related information. This should be borne in mind when healthy nutrition promotion activities are being developed.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Netherlands
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care*
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Preconception Care*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Trimesters / psychology
  • Pregnant Women / psychology*
  • Prenatal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Women's Health
  • Young Adult