The development and feasibility of a group-based household-level intervention to improve preconception nutrition in Nawalparasi district of Nepal

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Background: In a setting such as Nepal with malnutrition and persistent poor maternal and infant health outcomes, developing interventions to improve the nutrition of preconception and pregnant women is essential. Objective: The objectives of this paper are to describe the full design process of an intervention for newly married women, their husbands, and mothers-in-law to improve maternal nutrition and gender norms, and findings from the feasibility and acceptability pilot. Methods: In this paper we describe the three phases of the design of an intervention in rural Nepal. We first conducted a mixed methods formative phase which included in depth interviews with newly married women, their husbands and mothers-in-law (N=60) and a longitudinal study for 18 months with 200 newly married women. We then designed of a household level, group, intervention, in close partnership with community members. Finally, we conducted a pilot intervention with 90 participants and collected both pre/post survey data and in-depth qualitative interviews with a subset (N= 30). All participants from all phases of the study lived in Nawalparasi district of Nepal. Qualitative data was analyzed using a thematic analysis, with inductive and deductive themes and quantitative data was analyzed using descriptive statistics. Results: Our formative work highlighted lack of awareness about nutrition, and how women eating last, limited mobility, household and community inequitable gender norms and poor household-level communication contributed to low quality diets. Thus we designed Sumadhur, an intervention that brought groups of households (newly married wife, husband, and mother-in-law) together weekly for four months to strengthen relationships and gain knowledge through interactive content. We found Sumadhur to be highly feasible and acceptable by all respondents, with most (83%) attending 80% of sessions or more and 99% reporting that they would like it to continue. Pre/post surveys showed a decrease in the proportion of women eating last and increase in knowledge about nutrition in preconception and pregnancy. Qualitative interviews suggested that respondents felt it made large impacts on their lives, in terms of strengthening relationships and trust, understanding each other, and changing behaviors. Conclusions: We show how a designing an intervention in close partnership with the target recipients and local stakeholders can lead to an intervention that is able to target complicated and culturally held practices and beliefs, positively benefit health and wellbeing, and that is very well received. Trial registration: NCT04383847, registered 05/12/2020




Diamond-Smith, N., Mitchell, A., Cornell, A., Dahal, M., Gopalakrishnan, L., Johnson, M., … Puri, M. (2022). The development and feasibility of a group-based household-level intervention to improve preconception nutrition in Nawalparasi district of Nepal. BMC Public Health, 22(1).

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