Psychological Health and Lifestyle Management Preconception and in Pregnancy
Healthful lifestyles before and during pregnancy are important to facilitate healthy outcomes for mother and baby. For example, behaviors such as a sedentary lifestyle and consuming an energy-dense/nutrient-poor diet increase the risk of overweight/obesity before pregnancy and excessive weight gain during pregnancy, leading to adverse maternal and child health outcomes.
Maternal psychopathology may be implicated in the development of suboptimal maternal lifestyle behaviors before and during pregnancy, perhaps through impacts on motivation.
This article explores this notion using maternal obesity and excessive gestational weight gain as examples of the health impacts of psychological states. We suggest that factors such as psychological well-being, individual motivation for behavior change, and broader environmental influences that affect both individual and system-wide determinants all play important roles in promoting healthy lifestyles periconception and are key modifiable aspects for intervention designers to consider when trying to improve dietary behaviors and increase physical activity before and during pregnancy.
In addition, implementing system-wide changes that impact positively on individual and environmental barriers to behavior change that are sustainable, measureable, and effective is required.