Barriers and enablers in maintaining healthy gestational weight gain: A qualitative study

Claire White, Deborah Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

BACKGROUND: The amount of weight gained in pregnancy has the potential to impact the health of a woman and her baby in the short and long term. The existing literature demonstrates that women identify several barriers and enablers to maintain healthy weight gain in pregnancy. Understanding these barriers and enablers assists practitioners and maternity services to better support women to maintain healthy gestational weight gain.

AIM: While the existing literature is largely focussed on women who are overweight or obese, this paper aims to explore the experiences of women from a range of pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI) categories regarding their weight gain in pregnancy.

METHOD: Fifteen women from the Australian Capital Territory participated in semi-structured interviews in the postpartum period to explore the barriers and enablers for healthy weight gain in pregnancy. Qualitative data were analysed using descriptive thematic analysis techniques.

FINDINGS: Women identified several barriers and enablers to maintain healthy weight gain in pregnancy. These included pregnancy-related physiological changes, personal and cultural attitudes and beliefs, availability of psychological support, social and community networks, attitudes and advice from their treating health professionals, and availability of education.

DISCUSSION: This study is consistent with existing literature in confirming that women experience a range of personal, social, and cultural factors that impact upon weight gain in pregnancy. Participants identified inconsistent education and advice regarding gestational weight gain. This has clinical implications for clinicians and maternity services for improvement in the education and support of pregnant women regarding weight gain in pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalAustralian journal of midwifery : professional journal of the Australian College of Midwives Incorporated
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14 Sep 2020

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