In this article, we describe the process of establishing agreed international pregnancy research priorities to address the global issues of unhealthy lifestyles and rising maternal obesity. We focus specifically on the prevention of maternal obesity to improve related clinical pregnancy and long-term complications. A team of multidisciplinary, international experts in preconception and pregnancy health, including consumers, were invited to form the Health in Preconception, Pregnancy and Postpartum (HiPPP) Global Alliance. As an initial activity, a priority setting process was completed to generate pregnancy research priorities in this field. Research, practice and policy gaps were identified and enhanced through expert and consumer consultation, followed by a modified Delphi process and Nominal Group Technique, including an international workshop. Research priorities identified included optimising: (1) healthy diet and nutrition; (2) gestational weight management; (3) screening for and managing pregnancy complications and pre-existing conditions; (4) physical activity; (5) mental health; and (6) postpartum (including intrapartum) care. Given extensive past research in many of these areas, research priorities here recognised the need to advance pregnancy research towards pragmatic implementation research. This work has set the agenda for large-scale, collaborative, multidisciplinary, implementation research to address the major public health and clinical issue of maternal obesity prevention.
Keywords: antenatal care; consensus; lifestyle behaviours; obesity prevention; pregnancy; research priorities.