Piloting a Telephone Based Health Coaching Program for Pregnant Women: A Mixed Methods Study

Matern Child Health J. 2019 Mar;23(3):307-315. doi: 10.1007/s10995-019-02735-2.


Objectives Get Healthy in Pregnancy (GHiP) is a telephone based lifestyle coaching service for pregnant women, in New South Wales, Australia. GHiP had two service options; a telephone-based health coaching program consisting of up to 10 calls and information only (including one call). This study sought to compare the outcomes of the two GHiP options, to determine the characteristics of women likely to use the service and to explore the feedback from women and health professionals. Methods A pragmatic stratified clustered randomised controlled trial was conducted. Two metro and three rural hospitals were randomised into health coaching or information only arms. Self-reported measures of height and weight and health behaviours (dietary and physical activity) were collected at baseline and 36 weeks gestation. Process evaluation included descriptive analysis of routine program data, and semi-structured interviews with participants and health professionals. Results Of 3736 women screened, 1589 (42.5%) were eligible to participate, and of those eligible, 923 (58.1%) were recruited. More women in the health coaching arm gained weight within the target range for their BMI at 36 weeks gestation (42.9%) compared with information only (31.9%). Women found GHiP to be useful and supportive and midwives and doctors said that it facilitated conversations about weight with pregnant women. Conclusions for Practice Telephone-based lifestyle programs integrated with routine clinical care show promise in helping pregnant women achieve healthy gestational weight gain, but in this case was not significantly different from one information telephone call. Strong positive feedback suggests that scaled-up service delivery would be well received. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ACTRN12615000397516 (retrospectively registered).

Keywords: Gestational weight gain; Health coaching; Health promotion; Maternal obesity; Obesity.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Hospitals, Rural / organization & administration
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic / methods
  • Logistic Models
  • Mentoring / methods*
  • Mentoring / standards
  • New South Wales
  • Pilot Projects
  • Pragmatic Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnant Women / psychology*
  • Risk Reduction Behavior
  • Telephone