Healthy Together: A behavioural change intervention to support a healthy lifestyle postpartum

Publikation: Bog/antologi/rapport/Ph.d. afhandlingPh.d. afhandlingFormidling


The number of overweight or obese women of the childbearing age has increased over the past decades. Overweight and obesity contributes to lifestyle diseases such as Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Many women exceed the Institute of Medicine’s weight gain recommendations during pregnancy, which place them at risk of long-term overweight and obesity. This thesis shows the development and evaluation of an IT-based intervention to support a healthy postpartum lifestyle.

A Participatory Design approach has been used to ensure that the solution meets the users’ needs and is useful to mothers. The Behaviour Change Wheel has been applied to determine how the solution supports behavioural change.

The thesis is built around four papers:
Paper 1 is a literature study aiming to identify existing literature on effective interventions to maternal weight loss after birth. Eight papers were included. It shows that IT-based interventions can support a healthy postpartum lifestyle and weight control. Future studies should focus on longer follow up periods, larger samples, and lasting adherence to the interventions.

Paper 2 is the identification of barriers to a healthy lifestyle postpartum and the possibilities of an IT-based intervention. Five focus groups with new mothers and two focus groups with healthcare professionals (HCPs) were conducted to define barriers related to a healthy lifestyle postpartum. The results show that mothers lack tools to support and inform them about a healthy postpartum lifestyle. An IT-based intervention could be a way to accommodate the mothers’ needs.

Paper 3 is the development of a module in a mobile application to support healthy postpartum lifestyle through behavioural changes. The development of the intervention was carried out in collaboration with new mothers, healthcare professionals, IT consultants, and researchers. The intervention was based on outcomes from the workshops, interviews, feedback sessions, and think-aloud test. It resulted in a module (Healthy Together) in the already existing mobile application My Hospital. The module contains weekly push-notifications, podcasts, exercise videos, and weight tracking.

Paper 4 is an evaluation of mothers’ use of, experiences with, and attitudes towards the module Healthy Together as an intervention to support a healthy postpartum lifestyle. Thirty-four mothers were included in this phase of the study. One dropped out due to technical problems after a few weeks. The evaluation is based on 18 personal interviews and an online questionnaire with 28 respondents. It shows that an IT-based intervention with podcasts, push messages, exercise videos, and weight tracking may have the potential to support a postpartum healthy lifestyle. However, it should not be regarded as a one-size-fits-all solution. The results indicate that those who used the module were women who were physically active prior to their pregnancy.
Antal sider174
StatusUdgivet - 12 dec. 2022


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