The impact of obesity on pregnancy outcome is widely researched. International guidelines for assessing maternal weight and providing healthy weight gain/loss support have been developed to help women achieve a healthy pregnancy. However, according to researchers at Newcastle University, these guidelines are not based on the obese woman’s perspective of living obese and pregnant; many women are not engaging in available programs and support services as a result.

Based on information collected during an interview with a dietetic service, pregnant women believe weight, family, negativity, set priorities, and clear desired outcomes are key points that need to be addressed in obese pregnant women. Using these key issues, educational and support programs can be developed that meet the needs and expectations of obese pregnant women from a perspective that may be more engaging and therefore more successful.

If obese pregnant women are not engaged in support services provided to address weight loss or healthy weight gain during pregnancy, there will be no reduction in the number of obese pregnant women and no reduction in associated pregnancy complications and fetal risk factors. Support programs should be developed to address issues as deemed important by obese pregnant women.

Source: Heslehurst N, Russell S, Brandon H, Johnston C, Summerbell C, Rankin J. Women's perspectives are required to inform the development of maternal obesity services: a qualitative study of obese pregnant women's experiences. Health Expect. 2013 Apr 26. doi: 10.1111/hex.12070.