Open Access Study protocol

Impact of health beliefs, social support and self-efficacy on physical activity and dietary habits during the post-partum period after gestational diabetes mellitus: study protocol

Barbara Kaiser*, Chantal Razurel and Emilien Jeannot

Author Affiliations

University of Applied Sciences Western Switzerland, Haute Ecole de Santé, 47 Avenue de Champel, 1206 Geneva, Switzerland

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BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth 2013, 13:133  doi:10.1186/1471-2393-13-133

Published: 21 June 2013



Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is defined as a glucose intolerance of variable severity occurring or diagnosed for the first time during pregnancy. Numerous epidemiological studies show that this disorder affects between 1 and 18% of pregnancies, depending on the ethnicity of the populations studied, the diagnostic criteria, or the body mass index (BMI). Its incidence is constantly rising worldwide. Patients with GDM have a high risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the months after delivery. For this reason, GDM patients are encouraged to practice specific health behaviors (dietary habits, physical activity) during the postpartum period. It is important to identify the factors that may impact adherence to these behaviors.


A targeted sample size of 200 eligible pregnant women with a diagnosis of GDM will be enrolled in this prospective, cohort study. They will be recruited from 30-36 weeks of gestation as part of their diabetes consultation in Geneva University Hospital (GUH) maternity unit. Psychosocial variables that could impact adherence to health behaviors in the postpartum period (behavioral intentions, risk perceptions, general knowledge about diabetes, health beliefs, social support, self-efficacy) will be evaluated using specific tools at the end of pregnancy, at 6 weeks postpartum and at 6 months postpartum. Multiple regression analyses will be performed on SPSS.


For the first time in Europe, the objective of this research is to study in women with very recent GDM the link between dietary habits, physical activity levels, and psychosocial and cognitive factors possibly involved in the adoption of health behaviors in the postpartum period. These factors have been identified in the literature, but to date have never been combined in a single study. The study will allow a predictive theoretical model of health behavior to be established and used as a basis for reflection to optimize interventions carried out on women who have had GDM.

Gestational diabetes mellitus; Type 2 diabetes prevention; Dietary habits; Physical activity; Postpartum period; Health beliefs; Social support; Self-efficacy