The symbolic dimension of prenatal nutrition care in diabetes Mellitus

ABSTRACT Objective Aimed at analysing the symbolic dimension of prenatal nutritional care in diabetes. Methods Participants were 17 puerperal adults diagnosed with previous or gestational diabetes. Participant observation and semi-structured interviews were conducted to collect data. The data were interpreted according to an adaptation of Bardin’s Thematic Content Analysis. Results The main meaning of diabetes was the need for changing eating habits. Nutritional care based on the Traditional Method or the Carbohydrate Counting Method was understood as an opportunity for dietary re-education. Weight loss was considered desirable by some participants, albeit against the advice of nutritionists. Pregnant women adopted the standard meal plan, rarely used the food substitution list, and reported occasional dietary transgressions, self-allowed in small portions. Foods containing sucrose were perceived as less harmful to health than added sugars. Conclusion Each pregnant woman experienced prenatal nutritional care in diabetes not as a dietary method, but as part of her lifestyle.