Reasons for students' views about healthy pregnancy

Document Type



School of Nursing and Midwifery, East Africa


The aim of this study was to determine the thinking that underlies adolescents' ideas about the relationship between maternal nutrition and the health of the fetus, and about when a woman should begin to ‘take care’ with her diet. The study design involved a quantitative survey using a combined pre-coded and free response questionnaire, the content of which was derived from the results of a previous questionnaire study. The subjects comprised 219 school students from the Northwest of England in British National Curriculum Year 10 (age 14/15) and from mixed-ability classes in four non-religious, mixed-gender, community comprehensive schools. The results show that school students are unaware of the reasons why certain dietary items should be treated with caution during pregnancy, and have misconceptions about the risks they present. They are also unaware of the importance of the early stages of pregnancy in this context, because they feel that pregnancy does not start until it is confirmed. The study concluded that there is a continuing need for education about the relationship between a healthy diet and pregnancy outcome, and about the significance of preconception care. Midwives and other health professionals may have a role in such education, and should be aware of the reasons that underpin certain misconceptions, so that they can be corrected.


This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University