Prenatal weight gain: who is counseled?

J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2012 Jun;21(6):695-701. doi: 10.1089/jwh.2011.2922. Epub 2011 Nov 23.


Background: Because prenatal counseling is associated with adherence to weight gain guidelines, we sought to identify patient-level characteristics associated with the receipt of counseling on weight gain, nutrition, and exercise during prenatal care.

Methods: We performed a secondary data analysis on a cohort of women enrolled in a prenatal counseling intervention study. We controlled for study group assignment (intervention versus usual care) as well as patient characteristics in a multivariable analysis. We performed three separate multivariable analyses for predictors of provider-patient discussions about (1) weight gain, (2) nutrition, and (3) exercise.

Results: The cohort consisted of 311 predominantly low-income prenatal patients receiving care at several sites in the San Francisco Bay Area. Prepregnancy body mass index, nutrition knowledge, maternal age, parity, and type of insurance were not significantly associated with receipt of counseling about weight gain, nutrition, and exercise. In the multivariable analysis, white women were significantly less likely to be counseled about nutrition than non-white women (p=0.02). Former smokers were more likely to receive counseling about nutrition and exercise than never smokers (p<0.05). More advanced gestational age was associated with a higher rate of counseling on weight gain (p=0.01).

Conclusions: Despite having the highest rates of excessive weight gain nationally, white women were the least likely to receive counseling about nutrition during pregnancy. Interventions that prompt clinicians and simplify counseling may improve counseling rates for all patients during prenatal care.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cohort Studies
  • Counseling*
  • Diet / psychology
  • Exercise / psychology
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Medically Underserved Area
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Overweight / epidemiology
  • Patient Compliance* / psychology
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Care*
  • San Francisco / epidemiology
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Social Class
  • Weight Gain