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Research Article Open Access
Background: Maternal obesity is associated with significant health risks and costs. Identifying effective interventions for treatment and management of obese women in pregnancy is required to reduce these risks. The aim of this project was to evaluate the feasibility of the ‘Weigh to a Healthy Pregnancy Programme’ (WTHP), designed to help limit gestational weight gain (GWG) in women with a body mass index (BMI) ≥ 40 kg/m2 through healthy lifestyle changes. Pregnant women in Northern Ireland with body mass index (BMI) ≥ 40 kg/m2 were recruited to participate in this programme between April 2013-April 2014. Women received a structured support programme including tailored advice and group sessions during pregnancy. Both quantitative and qualitative data were collected at 9 time points during pregnancy and in early postnatal period. Results: Of 381 women invited to participate 306 (80%) agreed to take part of which 217 (71%) completed the programme. Women were approximately 118 kgs at recruitment (average 10.7 weeks gestation). Overall, women gained an average of 4.65 kgs from their booking appointment (<12 weeks gestation) to delivery (range 36-40 weeks), just below the Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommended guidelines of 5-9 kgs. Qualitative data collected from interviews demonstrates that women who completed the programme made positive changes to diet and physical activity habits. Conclusion: Evaluation of WTHP provides evidence that this intervention has the potential to impact positively on weight management for pregnant women with a body mass index (BMI) > 40 kg/m2.
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Author(s): Marlene Sinclair, Mary Jane Brown, Brendan Bunting, Marie Murphy, Alyson Hill, Gillian Gilmore, Karen Beattie and Janet Calvert