Nutrition research to assist pregnant women

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Nutrition research to assist pregnant women


USC Nutrition and Dietetics Honours student Catherine Robichaud chats with a pregnant woman about online nutrition information.

23 January 2014

A University of the Sunshine Coast Nutrition and Dietetics researcher wants to make it easier for first-time pregnant women to find sound nutritional advice online.

Honours student Catherine Robichaud, 30, of Maroochydore is conducting research to help determine which Internet sites are most likely to attract the attention of mums-to-be.

She’s keen to chat with first-time pregnant women across the region, from the Sunshine Coast to Brisbane, about their experiences of searching the web for information about food.

“Optimal maternal nutrition during pregnancy is related to short-term and long-term outcomes for the mother and foetus,” she said.

“However, many women have their first antenatal appointment with health professionals at the end of the first trimester after the critical period of embryonic growth has occurred.”

Mrs Robichaud said while many pregnant women seek out nutritional information on the Internet, little was known about their online searching behaviours and preferences.

“I’m hoping to gain an insight into where they go when they go online so that health professionals will be better able to make evidence-based information available to them,” she said.

“I want to know what appeals to first-time pregnant women most about particular sites, whether it is the websites themselves or apps or blogs.

“Exploring the online practices of such women can provide valuable insight for targeted nutrition webpage content and forms of communication.”

The research is being supervised by USC Lecturer in Nutrition and Dietetics Jude Maher.

Mrs Robichaud would like to speak with first-time pregnant women in small focus groups about their experiences of seeking nutrition information online. Those interested in being involved in this research can contact Ms Robichaud at

“All information will be kept anonymous, confidential and participation is voluntary,” she said.

— Terry Walsh

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