Adopting a healthy lifestyle when pregnant and obese – an interview study three years after childbirth

How to support pregnant women with BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2 to make healthy lifestyle changes and limit gestational weight gain is described from the women’s perspective in this newly published study from Gothenburg.

Seventeen women who had participated in a lifestyle intervention during pregnancy (Mighty Mums/Viktiga Mammor) were interviewed 3 years postpartum.

  • Thematic analysis revealed four themes:
  • The child as the main motivation for making healthy changes;
  • A need to be seen and supported on own terms to establish healthy routines;
  • Being able to manage healthy activities and own weight; and
  • Need for additional support to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Conclusions are that the antenatal care provider should:

  1. Address women’s weight in a non-judgmental way using BMI, and provide accurate and appropriate information about the benefits of limited gestational weight gain;
  2. Support the woman on her own terms in a collaborative relationship with the midwife;
  3. Work in partnership to give the woman the tools to self-manage healthy activities, and
  4. Give continued personal support and monitoring to maintain healthy eating and regular physical activity habits after childbirth involving also the partner and family.

Read the full paper in BMC Pregnancy & Childbirth