211326 What do women think about gestational weight gain?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 9:15 AM

Wendy Hellerstedt, MPH, PhD , School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
Patricia Fontaine, md , School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
Nancy Sherwood, phd , School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
Melissa Avery, PhD , School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
More women than ever before are entering pregnancy overweight or obese To develop effective prenatal intervention materials, it is important to know what women think about gestational weight gain (GWG) and whom they trust for prenatal advice. Twenty-five pregnant women were recruited from four Twin Cities' clinics for focus groups about experiences, expectations and opinions about prenatal weight change. The groups were conducted at the client's clinic (one conducted in Spanish), without clinic staff present. Women, 18-40 years, had varied opinions about their ability to control the rate and amount of GWG. Low control was often mentioned, related to variability in understanding educational messages, accessing information, and valuing conventional messages. Several women also stated that weight gain was best for the infant, suggesting that excess gains could be justified for this reason. A few women also noted that body weight monitoring could be dangerous if it led to body weight obsession. Women often named their providers as their most trusted advisors about pregnancy health; some stated that advisors in their social network gave confusing, wrong, and/or irrelevant advice about eating, exercise, and weight gain during pregnancy. The health information clients receive and perceive can be different. Our participants stated that they trusted their providers (and presumably received counsel to gain weight within IOM recommendations), but they often described attitudes that excess GWG was inevitable and/or not necessarily health-damaging. Patient-friendly educational materials are needed to optimize GWG and to decrease maternal (and offspring) complications of excess GWG that may be lifelong.

Learning Objectives:
Identify women's thoughts about the dangers and benefits associated with gestational weight gain

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: 20 years experience as a researcher
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.