Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Health and Society


Background: Dietary behaviours of pregnant women are a significant public health concern in Australia, as elsewhere. Research has demonstrated that avoidable adverse maternal and infant health outcomes are associated with poor maternal nutrition. Healthy eating during pregnancy can be defined as women’s ability to apply healthy eating practices and to adhere to dietary recommendations that ensure the nutritional requirements of pregnancy are met. Failure to adhere to dietary and gestational weight gain (GWG) guidelines have been reported among pregnant women.

Pregnancy is an ideal time for prenatal health care providers involved to engage women in health-related interventions, including in relation to nutrition. Women have more frequent contact with health services during pregnancy and a majority of pregnant women have a desire to optimise conditions for their unborn child. Many women specifically seek nutrition information for the sake of their unborn child, and in relation to gestational weight gain (GWG). Effective and practical interventions to promote optimal nutrition for good health and appropriate GWG are required. The determinants of behaviour and any psychological barriers to and facilitators for the desired behaviours should be identified and addressed to optimise the success of interventions. Further understanding of the pregnant women’s perceptions about their experiences and needs for nutrition support is key to enabling prenatal health care providers (and in some instances those involved in preconception care) to meet women’s needs.

Aim: The aim of this study was to explore pregnant women’s knowledge, motivations, attitudes and practices during pregnancy and their perceptions regarding their experience and needs, focusing on healthy diet and gestational weight gain information.

This thesis is unavailable until Monday, March 12, 2018