Midwives more successful in helping women to manage pregnancy weight gain

02 March 2017
Pegnant woman

Overweight or obese women are more motivated to take action to manage pregnancy weight gain when midwives counsel them about good nutrition and physical activity.

That’s according to a new American study published in the journal Obesity Reviews looking at the effectiveness of interventions to control pregnancy weight gain.

The authors canvassed 32 studies looking at interventions to manage pregnancy weight gain in overweight or obese women.

They say 60% of American women of reproductive age are overweight or obese which can lead to adverse outcomes for them and their children.

Mothers may be more likely to experience gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia and difficult labour for the mother, while children are at greater risk of macrosomia, chronic conditions and birth defects.

“The adverse effects of obesity and overweight on pregnancy outcomes can be limited by reducing excessive gestational weight gain. Yet interventions targeting excessive weight gain in obese and overweight women during pregnancy remain a major challenge,” the authors say.

They identified nine interventions which were successful in reducing the amount of pregnancy weight gain put on by overweight and obese women.

Interventions delivered by pre-natal care providers (PCPs), such as midwives, resulted in a significantly greater reduction in gestational weight gain than interventions delivered by nutritionists, physical therapists, community health workers and health coaches.

“PCPs are in the best position to incorporate pregnancy issues in counselling for healthy eating and physical activity as pregnancy advances.

“In addition, the convenience of counselling within existing prenatal care settings diminishes barriers to access. Whether obese or normal weight, pregnant women need to achieve adequate weight gain,” the authors say.

The go on to advise that it may be necessary for PCPs to incorporate succinct and individualised behaviour counselling on physical activity and healthy eating to optimise weight gain during pregnancy for women, particularly overweight and obese women.

You can find out more about this study into interventions to manage weight gain in obese or overweight pregnant women here.