Prevention and management of excessive gestational weight gain: a survey of overweight and obese pregnant women

W S Leslie, A Gibson, C R Hankey
BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth 2013, 13: 10

BACKGROUND: Excessive gestational weight gain is associated with adverse infant, childhood and maternal outcomes and research to develop interventions to address this issue is ongoing. The views of women on gestational weight gain and the resources they would consider helpful in addressing this are however largely unknown. This survey aimed to determine the views of newly pregnant women, living in areas of social disadvantage, on 1) their current body weight and potential gestational weight gain and 2) the resources or interventions they would consider helpful in preventing excessive gestational weight gain.

METHODS: A convenience sample of overweight and obese pregnant women living in Fife, UK, were invited to complete a short anonymised questionnaire at their 12 week booking visit.

RESULTS: 428 women, BMI>25 kg/m(2), completed the questionnaire. Fifty-four per cent of respondents were obese (231) and 62% were living in areas of mild to moderate deprivation. Over three-quarters of participants felt dissatisfied with their current weight (81%). The majority of women (60%) expressed some concern about potential weight gain. Thirty-nine percent were unconcerned about weight gain during their pregnancy, including 34 women (19%) who reported having retained weight gained in earlier pregnancies. Amongst those concerned about weight gain advice on physical activity (41%) and access to sports/leisure facilities were favoured resources (36%). Fewer women (12%) felt that group sessions on healthy eating or attending a clinic for individualised advice (14%) would be helpful. "Getting time off work" was the most frequently cited barrier (48%) to uptake of resources other than leaflets.

CONCLUSIONS: These data suggest a lack of awareness amongst overweight and obese women regarding excessive gestational weight gain. Monitoring of gestational weight gain, and approaches for its management, should be formally integrated into routine antenatal care. Barriers to the uptake of resources to address weight gain are numerous and must be considered in the design of future interventions and services.

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