Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Few Women Follow Healthy Lifestyle Guidelines Before Pregnancy

Date:
February 13, 2009
Source:
BMJ-British Medical Journal
Summary:
Very few women follow the nutritional and lifestyle recommendations before they become pregnant, even when pregnancy is in some sense planned, finds a new study.

Very few women follow the nutritional and lifestyle recommendations before they become pregnant, even when pregnancy is in some sense planned, finds a study published on the British Medical Journal website.

Nutrition and lifestyle advice is widely available for women during pregnancy, but much less emphasis is given to advice for women who may become pregnant. Yet promoting good health and nutrition before pregnancy may be at least as important as during pregnancy as the time around conception is vital for the development of the baby.

So researchers at the MRC Epidemiology Resource Centre at the University of Southampton set out to examine the degree to which women comply with these recommendations before they become pregnant.

Between 1998 and 2002, they interviewed 12,445 non-pregnant women aged 20-34 years as part of a general survey on health. Information on their diet, physical activity, smoking, alcohol consumption and nutritional supplement use over the past three months was recorded.

A total of 238 women became pregnant within three months of interview. These women were compared with those who did not become pregnant.

The women who became pregnant were only marginally more likely to comply with the alcohol and folic acid recommendations than those who did not become pregnant. Among those who became pregnant only seven (2.9%) were taking the recommended daily dose of 400g folic acid and drinking no more than four units of alcohol per week, compared with 0.66% of those who did not become pregnant.

The women who became pregnant were slightly less likely to smoke than those who did not become pregnant (74% v 69% were non-smokers) but this difference was not statistically significant.

Women in both groups were equally likely to consume five or more portions of fruit and vegetables per day, but only 57% of those who became pregnant had taken any strenuous exercise in the past three months compared with 64% of those who did not become pregnant.

At interview, 55 (23%) of the 238 women who became pregnant said that they did not anticipate trying for a baby in the next 12 months. Among this 'unplanned' group only one woman (1.8%) who became pregnant complied with the alcohol and folic acid recommendations, but among the remainder, who were, in some sense, 'planning' a pregnancy, the percentage was only slightly higher at 3.3% (six women).

In conclusion, our data show limited evidence of changes in health behaviours before pregnancy, say the authors. They call for greater publicity for pre-pregnancy recommendations, but point out that substantial unplanned pregnancy rates mean that greater efforts are needed to improve the nutrition and lifestyles of all women of child-bearing age.

In an accompanying editorial, public health experts from the University of Southern Denmark believe there is a need to reconsider the timing and setting for public health campaigns aimed at improving the conditions for the developing fetus. They also suggest that it is time to not only focus on women, but include men as targets for health promotion too.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BMJ-British Medical Journal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Inskip et al. Women's compliance with nutrition and lifestyle recommendations before pregnancy: general population cohort study. BMJ, 2009; 338 (feb12 2): b481 DOI: 10.1136/bmj.b481

Cite This Page:

BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Few Women Follow Healthy Lifestyle Guidelines Before Pregnancy." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 February 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090212210726.htm>.
BMJ-British Medical Journal. (2009, February 13). Few Women Follow Healthy Lifestyle Guidelines Before Pregnancy. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090212210726.htm
BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Few Women Follow Healthy Lifestyle Guidelines Before Pregnancy." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090212210726.htm (accessed August 2, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Texas Quintuplets Head Home

Texas Quintuplets Head Home

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 1, 2014) After four months in the hospital, the first quintuplets to be born at Baylor University Medical Center head home. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Patient Coming to U.S. for Treatment

Ebola Patient Coming to U.S. for Treatment

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 1, 2014) A U.S. aid worker infected with Ebola while working in West Africa will be treated in a high security ward at Emory University in Atlanta. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Vaccine Might Be Coming, But Where's It Been?

Ebola Vaccine Might Be Coming, But Where's It Been?

Newsy (Aug. 1, 2014) Health officials are working to fast-track a vaccine — the West-African Ebola outbreak has killed more than 700. But why didn't we already have one? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Links Certain Birth Control Pills To Breast Cancer

Study Links Certain Birth Control Pills To Breast Cancer

Newsy (Aug. 1, 2014) Previous studies have made the link between birth control and breast cancer, but the latest makes the link to high-estrogen oral contraceptives. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins