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Cultural Influences on African Migrant Pregnant and Postnatal Women’s Dietary Behaviours and Nutrition Support Needs in the UK

Lookup NU author(s): Lem Ngongalah, Professor Tim Rapley, Professor Judith Rankin, Dr Nicola HeslehurstORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2023 by the authors. Black women in the UK face significantly higher risks of overweight and obesity and adverse pregnancy outcomes compared to women from other ethnic groups. Maternal nutrition plays a pivotal role in influencing the health outcomes of women and their children, especially during preconception and pregnancy. Cultural and environmental factors significantly influence the dietary experiences of African women after migration. This study explored the unique nutrition-related challenges faced by African migrant pregnant and postnatal women in the UK, and their nutrition support needs. Interviews were conducted with 23 African migrant women living in the UK, who were either pregnant or had a pregnancy within the past 3 years. These were analysed thematically, resulting in five overarching themes: food rituals and beliefs, pregnancy cravings, limited access to culturally appropriate food, limited access to culturally appropriate and evidence-based nutritional guidance, and the focus on healthy weight. The study identified challenges that African migrant women face in balancing their cultural heritage with the UK food environment and dietary recommendations, including potential implications on their health and pregnancy outcomes. It emphasised the importance of addressing these challenges through culturally sensitive approaches and tailored interventions, to enable informed decision making and enhance health outcomes for these women.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Ngongalah L, Rapley T, Rankin J, Heslehurst N

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Nutrients

Year: 2023

Volume: 15

Issue: 19

Online publication date: 25/09/2023

Acceptance date: 20/09/2023

Date deposited: 24/10/2023

ISSN (electronic): 2072-6643

Publisher: MDPI


DOI: 10.3390/nu15194135


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Funder referenceFunder name
Newcastle University Overseas Research Scholarship