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A Qualitative Study of Women’s Perceptions of Provider Advice about Diet and Physical Activity during Pregnancy


Ferrari, Renée M.; Siega-Riz, Anna Maria; Evenson, Kelly R.; Moos, Merry-K.; & Carrier, Kathryn S. (2013). A Qualitative Study of Women's Perceptions of Provider Advice about Diet and Physical Activity during Pregnancy. Patient Education and Counseling, 91(3), 372-377. PMCID: PMC3683874


Objective: The purpose of this qualitative study was to gather insights into pregnant women's experiences with provider advice about diet and physical activity.
Methods: We conducted a series of 13 focus groups with a total of 58 pregnant African American, Caucasian, and Hispanic women of varying body sizes. Statements were independently coded, reduced, and then reconstructed to identify overarching themes with the assistance of ATLAS/ti software.
Results: Mean gestational age at the time of the focus groups was 30 weeks. Women commonly reported overwhelming and confusing diet advice and a paucity of physical activity advice that was largely limited to walking. Many reported following advice; when advice was not followed, it was because women disagreed with it or simply did not want to do it.
Conclusion: Women would benefit from more clear guidance from physicians and other providers regarding dietary choices and physical activity in pregnancy.
Practice implications: Providers should make dietary and physical activity advice in pregnancy more clear and individualized and offer such guidance multiple times throughout pregnancy.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Patient Education and Counseling


Ferrari, Renée M.
Siega-Riz, Anna Maria
Evenson, Kelly R.
Moos, Merry-K.
Carrier, Kathryn S.