Support for Self-Management and Prenatal Health Behavior Change: Implications for Pediatric Promotion of Interconception Care

Abstract [from journal]

Pediatricians increasingly endorse a dual generation approach to health, in which parental health behaviors are recognized as critical to promoting child health. Positive parental behaviors often emerge during pregnancy, for reasons that remain incompletely described. We surveyed mothers in the immediate postpartum period to identify beliefs about health behavior change and characteristics of prenatal care associated with successful change. Sampling at a tertiary care hospital captured an English-speaking adult population with healthy infants. Respondents (n = 225) were predominantly non-Hispanic Black (64%) and Medicaid insured (44%). Most (71%) reported successful behavior change during pregnancy. Of those reporting change, 91% intended to sustain behaviors postnatally. Most believed that sustained change was important for their own health (94%) and their infant’s health (93%). In logistic regression, support for self-management was associated with prenatal health behavior change (odds ratio = 1.64, 95% confidence interval = 1.09-2.46). Continued support for self-management by pediatricians may benefit long-term family health.