Gestational weight gain: Women’s views, knowledge and information seeking — ASN Events

Gestational weight gain: Women’s views, knowledge and information seeking (#169)

Jane C Willcox 1 , Karen C Campbell 1 , Elizabeth McCarthy 2 , Martha Lappas 3 , Kylie Ball 1 , David Crawford 1 , Alexis Shub 2 , Shelley Wilkinson 4
  1. CPAN, Deakin University, Burwood, Vic, Australia
  2. Mercy Hospital for Women, Heidelberg, Vic, Australia
  3. Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Melbourne, Mercy Hospital for Women, Heidelberg, Vic, Australia
  4. Nutrition and Dietetics, Mater Women's Hospital/Mater Research, Brisbane, Qld, Australia

Promoting healthy gestational weight gain (GWG) is a key frontier in obesity prevention for both mother and child. Research suggests that 30-50% of women, across all BMI categories, exceed GWG guidelines. There is a dearth of literature concerning women’s GWG-related views, knowledge and information sources.  Aim: To explore GWG views, information seeking behaviours and knowledge of GWG targets in pregnant women.  Method: 1046 consecutive women received a mailed questionnaire after their first antenatal visit to a major Melbourne maternity hospital. Thirty seven percent responded (n=382). Knowledge of GWG targets, information seeking behaviours and views on the importance of selected pregnancy issues were assessed. Results: Participants averaged 32.5 years (SD +4.5) and 20 weeks gestation with 35% speaking a LOTE.  The majority of women had a pre-pregnancy BMI (ppBMI) in the healthy (59%) and overweight/obese (36%) categories.  Approximately one third (36%) correctly identified GWG consistent with ppBMI.  A significant difference in estimation of appropriate GWG was identified between BMI categories with underweight (M= -2.21kg) and healthy (M=-0.79kg) weight women more likely to underestimate and overweight (M=1.18kg) and obese (M=2.84kg) women more likely to overestimate (p<0.001). Preventing excess GWG was rated as important, however, other issues were ranked as more important including smoking, alcohol, listeria, vitamins, and gaining sufficient weight. More than half of women (56%) had sought GWG information which was in contrast to the 10% of women who had been given GWG guidelines by a doctor or midwife. Fifty-five per cent of women stated that they required more GWG information. Conclusion:  While women rated GWG of lower importance than other pregnancy issues, approximately half of them sought GWG information.  The number of women unable to identify appropriate GWG targets and the small numbers given GWG targets by health professionals gives credence to the need for planned GWG interventions.