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  • Science & Technology
  • Life Sciences & Biomedicine
  • Nutrition & Dietetics
  • antenatal care checkup
  • breastfeeding
  • calcium supplement intake
  • maternal nutrition
  • diet diversity
  • iron and folic acid supplement intake
  • weight monitoring
  • COM-B

Opportunities and barriers for maternal nutrition behavior change: an in-depth qualitative analysis of pregnant women and their families in Uttar Pradesh, India


Journal Title:



Volume 10, Number


, Pages 1185696-1185696

Type of Work:



Background: Maternal undernutrition during pregnancy remains a critical public health issue in India. While evidence-based interventions exist, poor program implementation and limited uptake of behavior change interventions make addressing undernutrition complex. To address this challenge, Alive & Thrive implemented interventions to strengthen interpersonal counseling, micronutrient supplement provision, and community mobilization through the government antenatal care (ANC) platform in Uttar Pradesh, India. Objective: This qualitative study aimed to: (1) examine pregnant women’s experiences of key nutrition-related behaviors (ANC attendance, consuming a diverse diet, supplement intake, weight gain monitoring, and breastfeeding intentions); (2) examine the influence of family members on these behaviors; and (3) identify key facilitators and barriers that affect behavioral adoption. Methods: We conducted a qualitative study with in-depth interviews with 24 pregnant women, 13 husbands, and 15 mothers-in-law (MIL). We analyzed data through a thematic approach using the Capability-Opportunity-Motivation-Behavior (COM-B) framework. Results: For ANC checkups and maternal weight gain monitoring, key facilitators were frontline worker home visits, convenient transportation, and family support, while the primary barrier was low motivation and lack understanding of the importance of ANC checkups. For dietary diversity, there was high reported capability (knowledge related to the key behavior) and most family members were aware of key recommendations; however, structural opportunity barriers (financial strain, lack of food availability and accessibility) prevented behavioral change. Opportunity ranked high for iron and folic acid supplement (IFA) intake, but was not consistently consumed due to side effects. Conversely, lack of supply was the largest barrier for calcium supplement intake. For breastfeeding, there was low overall capability and several participants described receiving inaccurate counseling messages. Conclusion: Key drivers of maternal nutrition behavior adoption were indicator specific and varied across the capability-opportunity-motivation behavior change spectrum. Findings from this study can help to strengthen future program effectiveness by identifying specific areas of program improvement.
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