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Experiences of a lifestyle intervention in obese pregnant women – A qualitative study

Journal article
Authors Karolina Petrov Fieril
Monika Fagevik Olsén
Anna Glantz
Åsa Premberg
Published in Midwifery
Volume 44
Pages 1-6
ISSN 0266-6138
Publication year 2017
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology
Institute of Health and Care Sciences
Institute of Clinical Sciences, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Pages 1-6
Language en
Keywords Lifestyle changes, Midwifery, Obesity, Phenomenology, Prenatal education, Women's health
Subject categories Obstetrics and gynaecology


Objective to describe obese women's experiences of participating in a lifestyle intervention and its experienced impact on health and lifestyle. Design qualitative method with a phenomenological lifeworld approach. The interviews were analyzed in accordance with the phenomenological method. Participants and setting 11 women who had participated in a lifestyle intervention project, targeting pregnant women with BMI ≥30 in southwestern Sweden, were interviewed a few weeks before delivery. Findings the essence of these women's experiences was expressed as: implementing new habits required support, from midwives, partners, relatives, friends, or obese pregnant women in the same situation, or by participating in the intervention itself. The support had to be non-judgmental and with a balanced outlook on weight. Participation had taught them about weight gain control. The women were motivated to try to control their gestational weight gain, although not all of them were initially convinced that this would be possible. The essential structure of participation can be described with the following constituents: ‘‘pregnancy encourages change’’, ‘‘to be supported by non-judgmental people’’, ‘‘from bad habits to conscious choices’’ and; ‘‘barriers to change’’. Key conclusions in order to implement new habits, participants expressed a need for support, given with a non-judgmental attitude and a balanced outlook on weight. The women experienced that the lifestyle changes could be less burdensome than previously imagined, and that slight changes could yield unexpectedly successful results. In order to maintain a lifestyle change, obese women must perceive some kind of results, i.e. increased quality of life or weight gain control. Implications for practice non-judgmental support from midwives is crucial. Affinity with other pregnant obese women in an exercise group or dietary group setting is supportive. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd

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