Beliefs concerning dietary practices during pregnancy and lactation. A qualitative study among Iranian women residing in Sweden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Growing multiculturalism in Sweden challenges health professionals to provide safe and culturally meaningful care. Differences between the health--disease explanatory models of lay persons and health professionals may lead to communication problems, which ultimately could affect health outcomes. The aim of this study was to explore beliefs about food and health during pregnancy and lactation. Increased knowledge and understanding among health professionals on such issues should facilitate culturally congruent nutrition counselling. Individual interviews were performed among first-generation Iranian female immigrants in the county of Stockholm. The interviews followed a set of predefined key questions. Content analysis of interview transcripts followed a grounded theory approach. Five major categories emerged, which referred to 'hot-cold' values, foetal attributes, satisfaction of cravings, survival of the mother, and quantity and quality of breast milk. 'Mother's diet provides strength that sustains life' emerged as the most relevant core concept. This study demonstrated maternal strength to be important for a successful pregnancy outcome and lactation. Displacement of food items caused by migration in combination with a strong adherence to Iranian health beliefs could potentially cause food choices with detrimental health effects.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Nursing
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-111
JournalScandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2000
Publication categoryResearch