Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

King, Sondra L.

Degree Name

M.S. (Master of Science)

Legacy Department

Department of Human and Family Resources


Pregnancy--Psychological aspects; Pregnancy--Nutritional aspects


This study sought to determine if women in the sample made changes in their eating behavior during pregnancy and whether such changes were related to selected demographic factors: number of pregnancies, age, and years of education completed or to perceived level of social support. A survey instrument was distributed by mail to women, solicited through birth announcements in local newspapers or through Church Bulletin announcements, who had given birth within the last six months. Two hundred forty-one (44.3%) of the surveys were returned and analyzed. The mean age of respondents was 27.9 years. Only 7% had not completed high school and 34% had completed college. Most of the subjects (95.4%) were married. Almost half (48.1%) were at ideal bodyweight before their pregnancy; mean amount of weight gained during pregnancy was 30.7 lbs. These women had regular prenatal care with 93.4% having had 9 to 11 or more visits prenatally with a doctor. The doctor was the most important source of nutrition information, followed by the nurse, husband, and others. Only 29% of the sample had nutrition counseling; 16.2% had some type of nutrition education; 29.0% received nutrition counseling; 67.2% indicated they did not need nutritional advice. Even though only about one-third of the subjects felt they needed nutrition advice, 88.4% reported receiving advice about nutrition from a medical professional. Subjects surveyed did make changes in their eating behavior during pregnancy. Only 43.8% of the subjects rated their diet as excellent, well-balanced before pregnancy while a total of 88.4% rated their diet as excellent, well-balanced during the last half of pregnancy. Subjects who did not receive nutrition education reported significantly higher mean total social support ratings than subjects who participated in such programs. Younger subjects (age 25 or less) reported significantly less knowledge of nutrition than did older subjects (age 26 or older). Subjects with more than 15 years of education possessed significantly more knowledge of nutrition than subjects with 12 or fewer years of education. A significant relationship exists between ratings of high levels of family social support and nutrition knowledge and between ratings of diet before pregnancy and nutrition knowledge. Those who rated their prepregnancy diet as good or excellent, well-balanced possessed significantly more knowledge of nutrition than those who rated their pre-pregnancy diet as poor or needs improvement.


Includes bibliographical references (pages 42-43 and 67-69)


viii, 98 pages




Northern Illinois University

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