“There’s a Lot of Like, Contradicting Stuff”—Views on Healthy Living during Pregnancy and Postpartum

Jade A. McNamara, Noereem Z. Mena, Arrington Wright, Makenzie L. Barr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The transition from pregnancy through early postpartum can be a particularly vulnerable time for women as they adjust to the changes of motherhood. This study aimed to provide a detailed account of additional health challenges that mothers are facing throughout motherhood during the pandemic. Data obtained can be utilized to create tailored interventions to aid women during their reproductive years. A sequential approach was utilized, collecting health-related information via survey and subsequent focus groups or interviews to further examine health experiences during pregnancy or postpartum. Fifty-seven participants completed the online survey, 73.5% were postpar-tum. The healthy eating index of the cohort was low, 50.5 ± 10.3%. Prior to pregnancy, 54.5% were classified as overweight/obese. Following pregnancy, 71.1% were classified as overweight or obese. Emergent qualitative themes from focus groups (n = 3) and interviews (n = 6) included (1) value and desire for healthy eating, (2) desire to make well-informed health-based decisions, and (3) role of social networks during pregnancy and postpartum. Pregnant/postpartum women desire to lead a healthy lifestyle but experience barriers to accomplishing intended goals. Upstream resources and policies that promote healthy living for pregnant/postpartum women can reduce chronic disease throughout the lifespan following childbirth.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5849
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 1 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: This publication was supported in part by the University of Kentucky Department of Dietetics and Human Nutrition and US Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Hatch project no. ME0022104 through the Maine Agricultural and Forest Experiment Station.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • mental health
  • nutrition
  • postpartum
  • pregnancy
  • qualitative
  • support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


Dive into the research topics of '“There’s a Lot of Like, Contradicting Stuff”—Views on Healthy Living during Pregnancy and Postpartum'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this