The short-term effect of a mHealth intervention on gestational weight gain and health behaviors: The SmartMoms Canada pilot study

Physiol Behav. 2022 Dec 1:257:113977. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2022.113977. Epub 2022 Sep 29.


Gestational weight gain (GWG) has been shown to impact several maternal-infant outcomes. Since healthcare provider guidance on weight gain and healthy behaviors alone has failed to help women to meet guidelines during pregnancy, a practical adjunctive approach is to deliver evidence-based behavior change programs through mobile interventions. The present study aimed to assess the short-term effect of the SmartMoms Canada app to promote adequate GWG and healthy behaviors. Twenty-nine pregnant women were recruited in this app-based intervention trial to test whether a higher app usage (≥ 3.8 min·week-1) between 12-20 gestational weeks and 24-28 gestational weeks improved GWG, diet, physical activity, and sleep, compared to women with a lower app usage (< 3.8 min·week-1). Two-way mixed ANOVA for repeated measures was used to estimate the effect of the app usage and time, as well as their interaction on GWG and healthy behaviors. The likelihood ratio was used to examine the association between app usage categorization and GWG classification. Cramer's V statistic was used to estimate the effect size for interpretation of the association. Pregnant women using the SmartMoms Canada app more frequently had a higher moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) daily average when compared with women with a lower usage (mean difference: 17.84 min/day, 95% CI: 2.44; 33.25). A moderate effect size (28.6% vs. 15.4%; Cramer's V = 0.212) was found for the association between app categorization and rate of GWG, representing a greater adherence to the GWG guidelines in women in the higher app usage group vs. the lower app usage group. Considering other physical activity, diet, and sleep variables, no app categorization effect was observed. A short-term higher usage of SmartMoms Canada app has a positive effect on objectively-measured MVPA.

Keywords: Gestational weight gain; Healthy behaviors; Mobile intervention; Moderate-to-vigorous physical activity; Pregnancy.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Body Mass Index
  • Female
  • Gestational Weight Gain*
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Pilot Projects
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications*
  • Telemedicine*
  • Weight Gain