Recommendations for the Development of Family-Based Interventions Aiming to Prevent Unhealthy Changes in Energy Balance-Related Behavior during the Transition to Parenthood: A Focus Group Study

Vicka Versele, Benedicte Deforche, Dirk Aerenhouts, Peter Clarys, Roland Devlieger, Annick Bogaerts, Christoph Liel, Johanna Loechner, Joerg Wolstein, Mireille van Poppel, Tom Deliens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
18 Downloads (Pure)


Feasible interventions addressing unhealthy changes in energy balance-related behavior (EBRB) during pregnancy and early postpartum are needed. This study identified the needs and wishes of expecting and first-time parents concerning EBRB interventions during the transition to parenthood. Thirteen focus group discussions (n = 74) were conducted. Couples provided information about whether an intervention targeting unhealthy EBRB changes during pregnancy and postpartum would be acceptable, how such an intervention should look like, and in which way and during which period they needed support. Guided by the TiDIER checklist, all quotes were divided into five main categories (i.e., ‘what’, ‘how’, ‘when and how much’, ‘where’, ‘for and from whom’). Interventions should aim for changes at the individual, social, environmental and policy levels. The accessibility and approach (indirect or face-to-face) together with communicational aspects should be taken into account. A focus should go to delivering reliable and personalized information and improving self-regulation skills. Interventions should be couple-or family-based. Authorities, healthcare professionals, the partner and peers are important sources for intervention delivery and support. In the prevention of unhealthy EBRB changes around childbirth, the involvement of both parents is needed, while health care professionals play an important role in providing personalized advice.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2346
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
3. Rasmussen, K.M.; Yaktine, A.L. Weight Gain during Pregnancy: Reexamining the Guidelines. The National Academies Collection: Reports funded by National Institutes of Health. In Medicine Io, National Research Council Committee to Reexamine IOMPWG, editors; National Academies Press (US) National Academy of Sciences: Washington, DC, USA, 2009.

Funding Information:
This research was supported by a research grant from The Research Foundation—Flan-ders (‘Fonds voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek’ (FWO)) with project number FWO: G033418 N and has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under the ERA-NET Cofund action N°727565 (grant agreement n. 696300). RD is the holder of an FWO Fundamental Clinical Investigatorship with number 1803311 N. The funder had no role in the study design, data collection, management, analysis and interpretation of data, writing the report and decision to submit the report for publication, and will not have ultimate authority over any of these activities.Acknowledgments: We would like to thank all Master’s students who assisted during the focus group discussions and contributed to the transcription of the data. We thank the I-Pregno consor-tium for the critical discussion about the collected and analyzed data. We would also like to thank all the participants of the focus group discussions as well as the hospitals/private locations, which offered us a meeting room to conduct the focus groups.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors. Li-censee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

Copyright 2022 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • family-based
  • intervention strategy
  • needs assessment
  • nutrition
  • physical activity
  • sedentary behavior
  • pregnancy
  • postpartum


Dive into the research topics of 'Recommendations for the Development of Family-Based Interventions Aiming to Prevent Unhealthy Changes in Energy Balance-Related Behavior during the Transition to Parenthood: A Focus Group Study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this