Study Objective: To provide a brief assessment of dietary beliefs and behaviors in an understudied high-risk population of pregnant adolescents. Design, Setting, and Participants: Diverse pregnant adolescents (n = 66) recruited from the Rochester Adolescent Maternity Program at the University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, New York completed a nutrition knowledge and beliefs survey once during pregnancy. Interventions and Main Outcome Measures: Responses were recorded by a health project coordinator who had good rapport with the teens. Study staff evaluated responses for emergent themes and thematically coded survey data. All responses were assessed relative to demographic variables using χ2 and analysis of variance tests. Results: Most (83%; 55/66) pregnant teens self-identified as African American with 21% (14/66) identifying as Hispanic. Most (92%; 61/66) adolescents had medical insurance and 28% (19/66) reported participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children. The importance of proper nutrition was acknowledged but 14% (9/66) reported that diet did not matter or they were unsure of the importance of nutrition for the fetus. Money, access to food, and personal relationships were reported as constraining factors for a healthy diet. Response themes did not differ according to demographic characteristics. Conclusion: Overall, pregnant teens recognize the importance of dietary intake during pregnancy but this knowledge does not always translate into behaviors. Understanding the health knowledge and behaviors of pregnant adolescents might provide a foundation for future lifestyle and clinical interventions.
- Nutrition prenatal care
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Obstetrics and Gynecology
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health