Attitudes and expectations of pregnant women towards regular gestational weight monitoring

Ms Julia Zinga1, Mrs Elisabeth Gasparini1, Mrs  Alison Nankervis1

1Royal Women’s Hospital, Flemington, Australia

Abstract: 

Adverse maternal and neonatal outcomes are associated with excessive gestational weight gain (GWG). These include development of gestational diabetes, postpartum weight retention and long-term overweight for the mother. The offspring may have higher birth weight, leading to long-term overweight.

The Department of Health Pregnancy Care Guidelines now recommend that all pregnant women are given the opportunity to be weighed at each antenatal clinic attendance.

This study aimed to increase our understanding of the attitudes of pregnant women towards regular weight monitoring.

This cross-sectional study was undertaken at the Royal Women’s Hospital (RWH). English-speaking women with a singleton pregnancy, of any gestation and of any pre-pregnancy BMI category were eligible.

Data collection occurred via a ten-item Likert-style questionnaire, developed, validated and scored by the researcher. It investigated pregnant women’s attitudes and expectations regarding weight monitoring, among other issues related to GWG. A range of maternal characteristics were gathered.

330 women completed the questionnaire. Most participants (59.9%) were within their healthy weight range prior to pregnancy; approximately one third (35.9%) were overweight or obese.

The questionnaire score indicated the majority (86%) had ‘positive’ or ‘very positive’ attitudes towards weight monitoring. Fourteen percent returned a ‘negative’ score; no participants scored ‘very negatively’.

Three quarters (75.6%) expected to be weighed at the antenatal clinic, 16.4% were ‘neutral’, and 7.9% did not expect to be weighed.

Many pregnant women felt positive towards, and expect, regular weighing. Allied health staff in maternity healthcare are well placed to provide support to pregnant women to achieve optimal GWG.

Biography: 

Julia Zinga is a Diabetes Dietitian and holds a Bachelor of Health Science (Nutrition & Dietetics) from The University of Newcastle. The majority of Julia’s dietetic career has been in the field of diabetes, providing dietary counselling to people of all ages with diabetes. Since 2014, Julia has worked as Diabetes Dietitian at Royal Women’s Hospital, Melbourne, working in the multidisciplinary diabetes unit to support women with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes who are pregnant or planning pregnancy, and women with gestational diabetes.