The views of pre- and post-natal women and health professionals regarding gestational weight gain: An exploratory study

Sex Reprod Healthc. 2011 Jan;2(1):43-8. doi: 10.1016/j.srhc.2010.10.004. Epub 2010 Nov 4.


Objectives: To explore the views of pre- and post-natal women and health professionals regarding gestational weight gain. The health professionals' views concerning their provision to prevent unhealthy weight gain in pregnancy were also elicited. These views may inform the design of future interventions targeting gestational weight gain.

Study design: Focus groups were conducted with pregnant women (n = 9 and one midwife) and post-natal women (n = 14). One focus group (n = 6) and one interview was conducted with health professionals. The focus groups were transcribed verbatim and analysed thematically.

Main outcome measures: Themes concerning women's and health professionals' views about gestational weight gain and the health professionals views of their care related to gestational weight gain.

Results: The women expressed a lack of concern regarding their weight in pregnancy. The pregnant women reported not monitoring their weight and commonly assumed they would lose weight post-natally through breastfeeding. The health professionals reported being aware of the women's views, but lacked information to give to the women regarding healthy weight gain.

Conclusions: Women lacked concern regarding their gestational weight gain at least partly due to not receiving appropriate information from their midwives and other health professionals. The health professionals were in turn unsure of what to advise women regarding appropriate gestational weight gain. By ensuring midwives and other health professionals have the knowledge, skills and opportunity to discuss weight with pregnant women, the women in turn may be more motivated to maintain a healthy weight during pregnancy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • England
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Health Personnel / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Postnatal Care*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Care*
  • Weight Gain*
  • Young Adult