Practitioner advice and gestational weight gain

J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2011 Apr;20(4):585-91. doi: 10.1089/jwh.2010.2316. Epub 2011 Mar 17.


Background: The purpose of this study was to investigate receipt of gestational weight gain advice in prenatal care and ideal and expected gestational weight gain outcomes for normal weight and overweight/obese women.

Methods: This was a cross-sectional study of normal weight (n = 203) and overweight/obese (n = 198) women in early (<16 weeks) pregnancy.

Results: Less than half of participants (41.7%) reported receiving weight gain advice from a practitioner. In multivariate models, pregravid weight status was not significantly related to receiving advice. However, women with lower income (odds ratio [OR] 0.31, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.13-0.77, p = 0.01), younger age (OR 0.93, 95% CI 0.87-0.99, p = 0.02), and multiparity (OR 0.49, 95% CI 0.28-0.87, p = 0.02) were least likely to report receiving advice. Among those receiving advice, most (85%) received accurate advice; however, overweight/obese women were more likely to be advised to overgain compared with normal weight women (22.2% vs. 2.3%, p = 0.0001). Overweight/obese women were also more likely than normal weight women to report ideal (OR 7.2, 95% CI 2.3-22.7, p = 0.001) and expected (OR 4.7, 95% CI 2.6-8.4, p = 0.0001) pregnancy weight gains above Institute of Medicine guidelines. Further, a consistent relationship was observed between higher ideal and expected weight gains and greater first trimester weight gain (p < 0.03).

Conclusions: Clinicians should be encouraged to provide timely and accurate advice to women about gestational weight gain. Interventions to promote healthy gestational weight gain may benefit from targeting women's beliefs about ideal and expected gestational weight gain.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Weight
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine, U.S., Health and Medicine Division
  • Obesity
  • Patient Education as Topic / methods
  • Patient Education as Topic / statistics & numerical data*
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnant Women / psychology*
  • Prenatal Care / methods
  • Prenatal Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Rhode Island
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States
  • Weight Gain*
  • Young Adult