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Pregnancy health study on overweight women here underway

A local Ph.D. student is conducting a study on what it means to have a healthy pregnancy for overweight women in Columbus County who are planning to become pregnant in the near future.

The study would like to understand the ways in which adult women in an economically challenged area such as Columbus County describe a healthy pregnancy and the experiences that led them to those beliefs.

Valeria Balogh grew up in Columbus County and has a special interest in improving the health status of the county and those who live here. She is a yoga teacher in the community and teaches as a part-time instructor at Southeastern Community College.

As a doctoral candidate, Balogh was searching for a gap (a new way of looking at a problem) in the research on ways to reduce overweight and obesity in the general population.

She found that there are many studies on how specific activities like nutrition or exercise affect a healthy pregnancy, but very few studies on how intention (planning a pregnancy) and location affect pre-pregnancy health and health beliefs.

The study will interview adult women from Columbus County to discover what women who are preparing for a pregnancy think is important to do to be healthy at conception and have a healthy pregnancy.

As a researcher, Balogh would like to hear from women in the community about what a healthy pregnancy is and what women are planning to do to have the healthiest pregnancy possible for them.

She is interested in any behaviors they plan to change to “support a new pregnancy, their social support systems, and how living in the community helps or challenges them in preparing for pregnancy.”

The results from this study may help to inform future researchers, healthcare providers, and individuals who are in the process of family building.

Many people are often afraid to participate in a research study because they might be identified by their friends or co-workers as having been in the study and might feel embarrassed or uncomfortable about being identified. This study is mandated to be as private as possible. All identities will be protected by removing the participants’ names and using a code for them instead, and by not identifying the county name in the final paper.

It is important to hear directly from the people who experience what researchers are investigating; otherwise, the research results will not produce the true answers the study is looking for.

At the completion of her study, Balogh plans to share the general findings with the community.

For people interested in finding out more about this research study, contact Balogh at 910-234-0613 or email valeria.balogh@waldenu.edu.

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