The pregnancy: time for a new beginning! : exploring opportunities and challenges for healthy nutrition promotion

E.M. Szwajcer

    Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WU


    In literature it has been suggested that there are certain special and critical transitions in life that my have a long-term impact on health and health behaviours in later periods of the life course. This is also known as the Life Course Perspective (LCP). The purpose of this thesis was to contribute to the rationale of healthy nutrition promotion activities aimed at women and their health behaviour in and around pregnancy, as such a special and critical transition in life. This was done by means of cross-sectional studies on nutrition awareness (qualitative and quantitative), nutrition-related information-seeking behaviours (qualitative) and underlying motivations (qualitative) among women before, during and after their pregnancy. In order to do this, the concept of nutrition awareness was explored and redefined. Mostly, awareness is defined as a matter of knowing about something. The result of this conceptualisation is that the link with behaviour becomes a problematic one. Therefore, we have chosen for a more ‘active’. Nutrition awareness was defines as in saliency, preoccupation and supervision of nutrition. Furthermore, we looked at the autonomy of motivations of nutrition awareness. Autonomously motivated women in the period around the pregnancy are more likely to make longer lasting behavioural changes, which is favour of the LCP. Finally, special attention was paid to nutrition communication in the midwifery practice as a more specific setting for healthy nutrition promotion directed at all pregnant women. The results of these studies showed that the LCP is a new and hardly or insufficient explored domain in nutrition promotion and pregnancy. It can be concluded that the LCP-concept provides interesting opportunities for healthy nutrition promotion directed at women who are starting a family. In transition to pregnancy and motherhood, women are motivated to change health-related behaviours that are difficult to modify at other times. Moreover, it can be concluded that our conceptualisation of awareness is fruitful in obtaining a better understanding of possible behavioural changes in health in relation to the LCP. Also nutrition awareness, nutrition-related information-seeking behaviours and associated motivations are a good basis for distinguishing groups of women in the period around their pregnancy.  
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Awarding Institution
    • Wageningen University
    • Hiddink, Gert Jan, Promotor
    • van Woerkum, Cees, Promotor
    • Koelen, Maria, Co-promotor
    Award date11 Sep 2007
    Place of Publication[S.l.]
    Print ISBNs9789085046707
    Publication statusPublished - 2007


    • pregnancy
    • diet
    • nutrition education
    • nutrition information
    • health promotion
    • feeding behaviour
    • women

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