During pregnancy, Women want support in managing their weight


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

Obesity during pregnancy is 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 weight and weight management during pregnancy.

Woman with high body mass index (BMI) feels embarrassed or ashamed to discuss their weight and weight management with pregnancy care providers. Even, pregnancy care providers may not feel confident to discuss these weight-related matters with a pregnant woman thinking that it may upsetting woman.

Although most women were satisfied with the pregnancy care they had received, both (normal and high BMI) women and midwives expressed concerns about successful weight management and identified that women would benefit from additional information. Researchers of the view that during pregnancy and postnatal period, women want help in managing their weight.

Dr. Sara Holton led the study, almost 20 pregnant women and midwives took part in the interviews. During pregnancy, women's and midwives' experiences and perspectives of weight management was investigated by the researchers.

Dr. Holton said, "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 tips during pregnancy, and have opportunities to discuss these with them."

Care providers should not "criticize" pregnant women who have a high BMI. The support and information about weight management should be incorporated into routine pregnancy care. Dr. Holton mentioned, "However, it may be that midwives avoid or delay discussing weight management with pregnant women 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."

The findings of this study suggest that effective pregnancy weight management for women with high BMI requires interventions that address the barriers to weight-management 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 weight management, wellbeing, and health outcomes for pregnant women with high BMI.