Barriers to a healthy postpartum lifestyle and the possibilities of an information technology-based intervention: A qualitative study

Pernille Kjærgaard Christiansen, Mette Maria Skjøth, Line Elberg Lorenzen, Eva Draborg, Christina Anne Vinter, Trine Kjær, Mette Juel Rothmann

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Background: Being overweight or obese is associated with higher risk of adverse maternal and fetal outcomes, including gestational diabetes and childhood obesity. Many women exceed the gestational weight gain recommendations. Thus, it is important to focus on the women's lifestyle between their pregnancies to lower the risk of weight retention before the next pregnancy as well as in a life course perspective.

Objective: The objective of this study was to explore barriers postpartum women experience with respect to a healthy lifestyle during the postpartum period, and to assess whether an IT-based intervention might be a supportive tool to assist and motivate postpartum women to healthy lifestyle.

Method: A systematic text condensation was applied to semi-structured focus groups. Five focus group interviews were carried out with a total of 17 postpartum women and two interviews with a total of six health professionals. Participants were recruited through the municipality in Svendborg, Denmark, and at Odense University Hospital in Odense, Denmark, during a four-month period in early 2018. The results were analysed within the frame of the capability, opportunity, motivation and behaviour model (COM-B).

Results: From the women's perspective, better assistance is needed from the health professionals to obtain or maintain a healthy lifestyle. The women need tools that inform and help them understand and prioritize own health related risks, and to motivate them to plan and take care of their own health. There is room for engaging the partner more in the communication related to the baby and family's lifestyle. Lastly, the women already use audiobooks and podcasts to obtain information.

Conclusion: Postpartum women need tools that inform and motivate for a healthy lifestyle postpartum. The tools should allow access to high quality information from health care professionals when the information is needed and also allow engagement from the partner. An IT-based intervention could be a way to support and motivate postpartum women for a healthy lifestyle.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102994
JournalMidwifery
Volume98
ISSN0266-6138
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021

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