Workplace Healthy Lifestyle Determinants and Wellbeing Needs across the Preconception and Pregnancy Periods: A Qualitative Study Informed by the COM-B Model

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Apr 14;18(8):4154. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18084154.


Overweight and obesity present health risks for mothers and their children. Reaching women during the key life stages of preconception and pregnancy in community settings, such as workplaces, is an ideal opportunity to enable health behavior change. We conducted five focus groups with 25 women aged between 25 and 62 years in order to investigate the determinants of healthy lifestyle behaviors, weight management, and wellbeing needs during the preconception and pregnancy periods in an Australian university workplace. Discussions explored women's health and wellbeing needs with specific reference to workplace impact. An abductive analytical approach incorporated the capability, opportunity, and motivation of behavior (COM-B) model, and four themes were identified: hierarchy of needs and values, social interactions, a support scaffold, and control. Findings highlight the requirement for greater organization-level support, including top-down coordination of wellbeing opportunities and facilitation of education and support for preconception healthy lifestyle behaviors in the workplace. Interventionists and organizational policy makers could incorporate these higher-level changes into workplace processes and intervention development, which may increase intervention capacity for success.

Keywords: COM-B; healthy lifestyle behaviors; occupational health; women’s health.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Australia
  • Child
  • Female
  • Healthy Lifestyle
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation*
  • Overweight
  • Pregnancy
  • Workplace*