Comparison of midwifery, family medicine, and obstetric patients' understanding of weight gain during pregnancy: a minority of women report correct counselling

J Obstet Gynaecol Can. 2012 Feb;34(2):129-135. doi: 10.1016/S1701-2163(16)35155-6.


Objective: We hypothesized that differences in models of care between health care providers would result in variations in patients' reports of counselling. Our objective was to compare what women reported being advised about weight gain during pregnancy and the risks of inappropriate weight gain according to their type of health care provider.

Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted using a self-administered questionnaire at obstetric, midwifery, and family medicine clinics in Hamilton, Ontario. Women were eligible to participate if they had had at least one prenatal visit, could read English, and had a live, singleton pregnancy.

Results: Three hundred and eight women completed the survey, a 93% response rate. Care for 90% of the group was divided approximately evenly between midwives, family physicians, and obstetricians. A minority of women looked after by any of the types of care providers reported being counselled correctly about how much weight to gain during pregnancy (16.3%, 10.3%, 9.2%, and 5.7% of patients of midwives, family physicians, obstetricians, or other types of care providers, respectively, P = 0.349). A minority of women with any category of care provider was planning to gain an amount of weight that fell within the guidelines or reported being told that there were risks to themselves or their babies with inappropriate gain.

Conclusion: In this study comparing reported counselling between patients of obstetricians, midwives, family physicians, and other health care providers, low rates of counselling about gestational weight gain were universally reported. There is a common need for more effective counselling.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Counseling / methods*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Family Practice*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Maternal Welfare
  • Midwifery*
  • Obstetrics*
  • Ontario
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Care / methods*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Weight Gain*