Objective: to investigate how pregnant women deal with conflicting advice from their social networks and their caregivers and how this influenced their pregnancy-related behaviours. Design and methods: a qualitative study based on face-to-face interviews and focus-groups. We applied an inductive analysis technique closely following the 'Gioia method'. Setting: impoverished neighbourhoods in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Participants: 40 women who were pregnant, or had given birth within the last 12 months. 12 women were Native Dutch, 16 had a Moroccan background, and 12 had a Turkish background. Findings: all women faced a misalignment of advice by health professionals and social networks. For the native Dutch respondents, this misalignment did not seem to present a challenge. They had a strongly articulated preference for the advice of health professionals, and did not fear any social consequences for openly following their advice. For the women with a Turkish/Moroccan background, however, this discrepancy in advice presented a dilemma. Following one piece of advice seemed to exclude also following the other one, which would possibly entail social consequences. These women employed one of the three strategies to deal with this dilemma: a) avoiding the dilemma (secretly not following the advice of one side), b) embracing the dilemma (combining conflicting advice), and c) resolving the dilemma (communicating between both sides). Key conclusions and implications for practice: we argue that the currently popular interventions geared towards increasing the health literacy of non-Western ethnic minority pregnant women and improving communication between ethnic minority clients and caregivers are not sufficient, and might even exacerbate the dilemma some pregnant women face. As an alternative, we recommend involving not only caregivers but also women[U+05F3]s social network in intervention efforts. Interventions could aim to increase the negotiation capacity of the target group, but also to increase the health literacy of the members of their social network to enable the circulation of 'new' information within a rather homogeneous, tight-knit network.

Health behaviours, Health promotion, Intervention design, Pregnancy-related behaviours, Social networks
dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.midw.2016.02.012, hdl.handle.net/1765/83205
Erasmus University College (EUC)

Schölmerich, V.L.N, Ghorashi, H, Denktaş, S, & Groenewegen, P. (2016). Caught in the middle? How women deal with conflicting pregnancy-advice from health professionals and their social networks. Midwifery, 35, 62–69. doi:10.1016/j.midw.2016.02.012