Women attempting to become pregnant and those who have already conceived have a multitude of recommendations they are asked to follow provided by health care authorities. The recommendations are suggested in order to provide optimal outcomes for the mother/baby dyad based on current research and evidence.
Clare Dunney, a research Midwife and Deirdre J Murphy, a professor of obstetrics in Ireland wanted to know what health behaviors pregnant women reported engaging in and identify “at risk” groups of women. The researchers made no explicit references to their conceptual framework or theories that influenced the research, rather the researchers cited the recommendations for healthy pregnancy outcomes from various health institutes. (Dunney & Murphy, 2015)
This was a non-experimental research study. Researchers were interested in knowing what specific health behaviors pregnant women were, or were not, engaging in during the first and last trimester of pregnancy with an end goal or identifying at risk populations. Researchers set out to discover the answers to their questions by seeking out women to interview in a Dublin hospital. The women were first contacted in person when they came in for prenatal care, a follow-up questionnaire was mailed to those women in their third trimester who had agreed to participate, lastly information on birth outcomes was gathered from hospital records postnatally. (Dunney & Murphy, 2015)
Women approached for this prospective cohort study took place in a large Dublin maternity hospital in November and December of 2011. Pregnant women who were eligible included those who were at least 18 years of age, were pregnant with a sing...
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...earchers anywhere else in the world the results would likely be similar, revealing a larger problem with health behaviors than previously thought. (Dunney & Murphy, 2015)
Application to Practice
This study revealed that a surprisingly large number of women were not engaging in all the healthy lifestyle behaviors that are recommended during pregnancy. This reinforces the need for support and education for pregnancy and those planning to conceive. Difficulties include those associated with behavior change for any individual. There must be a desire to change coupled with the resources to do so. A majority of parents want to do what is best for their children. With this in mind, this population may be more willing to make changes if education is provided on the negative consequence for the baby based on actions the mother does or does not take. (Dunney & Murphy, 2015)
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