Women want support managing their weight during pregnancy

November 2, 2017, Monash University
Women want support managing their weight during pregnancy
Credit: Monash University

Australian women want their healthcare providers to actively advise them about weight management during and after pregnancy, a Monash University study reveals.

Published in BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, the Public Health and Preventive Medicine study identifies a gap in service provision that could help tackle obesity in , a growing health problem that has significant health implications for mothers and their babies.

Women and their pregnancy care providers often find the topic difficult and are reluctant to discuss and weight management during pregnancy. Women, especially those who have a high BMI, may feel embarrassed or ashamed to discuss their weight and weight management with pregnancy care providers, and pregnancy care providers may not feel confident to discuss these matters without upsetting women. However, it is important to maintain a healthy weight throughout pregnancy.

The Monash study found that although most women were satisfied with the pregnancy care they had received, both women (with normal and high BMI) and midwives expressed concerns about effective weight management and identified that women would benefit from additional information and support in managing their weight both during pregnancy and postnatally.

Almost 20 pregnant women and midwives took part in interviews for the study led by Dr Sara Holton. Researchers investigated women's and midwives' experiences and perspectives of weight management during pregnancy.

"We found that women, both with and without a high BMI, wanted their care provider to give them advice and information about managing weight and appropriate weight gain during pregnancy, and have opportunities to discuss these with them," Dr Holton said.

Women in the study felt that support and information about weight management should be incorporated into routine pregnancy care, and that care providers should not "criticise" pregnant women who have a high BMI.

"However, it may be that midwives avoid or delay discussing weight management with because they are unsure about how to talk to women about weight and don't want to offend, shame, or discourage women or cause them anxiety," Dr Holton said.

The findings of this study suggest that effective pregnancy weight management for women with high BMI requires interventions that address the barriers to weight- during pregnancy, offer clear advice and non-judgemental support, and are provided during both routine pregnancy care and the postnatal period. Interventions such as these will contribute substantially to enhanced clinical services, and improved , wellbeing, and health outcomes for pregnant with high BMI.

Explore further: Weight gain between pregnancies linked to increased risk of gestational diabetes

More information: Sara Holton et al. Weight management during pregnancy: a qualitative study of women's and care providers' experiences and perspectives, BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth (2017). DOI: 10.1186/s12884-017-1538-7

Related Stories

Weight gain between pregnancies linked to increased risk of gestational diabetes

August 1, 2017
The risk of developing gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) increases with increased weight gain between pregnancies, according to a new study published in PLOS Medicine by Linn Sorbye of the University of Bergen, Norway, ...

Clinics cut pregnancy risks for obese women

June 22, 2017
Specialist antenatal clinics for severely obese mums-to-be can help cut rates of pregnancy complications, research has found.

Prior miscarriage, weight affect exercise, well-being in pregnant women

December 21, 2016
Women with a history of miscarriage and women who are overweight or obese prior to pregnancy tend to have poorer psychological health and lower motivation to exercise during their next pregnancy compared to women without ...

Weight gain greater, less than recommended during pregnancy linked with increased risk of adverse outcomes

June 6, 2017
In an analysis that included more than 1.3 million pregnancies, weight gain during pregnancy that was greater or less than guideline recommendations was associated with a higher risk of adverse outcomes for mothers and infants, ...

Many pregnant NZ women are in the dark about healthy weight gain in pregnancy

August 5, 2016
A large proportion of pregnant New Zealand women are at higher risk of poor health outcomes because they don't know how much weight they should be putting on during pregnancy, new University of Otago research suggests.

Healthy eating and exercise in pregnancy limits weight gain and lowers odds of caesarean

July 19, 2017
Encouraging healthy eating and physical activity during pregnancy limits excess weight gain and lowers the odds of having a caesarean section, finds a study published by The BMJ today.

Recommended for you

Vendors say pot eases morning sickness. Will baby pay a price?

May 22, 2018
(HealthDay)—Nearly 70 percent of Colorado marijuana dispensaries recommended pot products to manage early pregnancy-related morning sickness, new research reveals.

Pregnancy drug DES might have triggered ADHD in the grandchildren of women who used it

May 21, 2018
A study conducted by researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health reported elevated odds for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in the grandchildren ...

Male depression may lower pregnancy chances among infertile couples, study suggests

May 17, 2018
Among couples being treated for infertility, depression in the male partner was linked to lower pregnancy chances, while depression in the female partner was not found to influence the rate of live birth, according to a study ...

Fertility study finds acupuncture ineffective for IVF birth rates

May 15, 2018
A study of over 800 Australian and New Zealand women undergoing acupuncture treatment during their IVF (in vitro fertilization) cycle has confirmed no significant difference in live birth rates. The findings published today ...

More than one day of first-trimester bleeding ups odds for smaller baby

May 10, 2018
(HealthDay)—Some first-trimester bleeding occurs in up to 1 in every 4 pregnancies. Now, new research suggests that if bleeding extends beyond a day there could be implications for baby's birth weight.

For women with history of pregnancy loss, walking may aid chance of becoming pregnant

May 8, 2018
Results of a recent study to better understand modifiable factors such as physical activity that may affect a woman's ability to conceive a child suggest that walking may help women to improve their chances of becoming pregnant.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.