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Offering weight management support to pregnant women with high body mass index: A qualitative study with midwives

Olander, E. K. ORCID: 0000-0001-7792-9895, Berg, F., Berg, M. & Dencker, A. (2019). Offering weight management support to pregnant women with high body mass index: A qualitative study with midwives. Sexual & Reproductive Healthcare, 20, pp. 81-86. doi: 10.1016/j.srhc.2019.04.001


Objective: The prevalence of pregnant women with high body mass index is increasing worldwide. High body mass index is associated with health risks for mother and baby and supporting healthy gestational weight gain is important. Midwives play an important role in supporting women to engage in behaviours such as healthy eating and physical activity. The aim of this study was to explore how midwives’ support pregnant women with high body mass index to establish a healthy lifestyle with emphasis on nutrition and physical activity in order to minimise gestational weight gain.

Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 16 midwives working in antenatal health care in Sweden. Interviews were conducted shortly after new guidelines on care for pregnant women with high body mass index had been introduced. The interviews were recorded, transcribed and analysed by thematic analysis.

Results: Three main themes were identified; use a conscious approach, invite to participate and have a long-term health perspective. Midwives built a relationship with a woman through identifying her concerns and circumstances, before sensitively discussing weight. Some midwives used Motivational Interviewing to help women identify their own resources. To reach long-term health benefits, midwives set achievable goals with the women.

Conclusion: These study findings provide practical examples of how midwives can support women with weight management during pregnancy. Through being sensitive when developing a relationship, midwives enabled the women to identify their own resources and achievable goals. Support after the baby is born is needed subsequently to help women maintain their healthy behaviour changes.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2019 Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
Publisher Keywords: Pregnancy, Obesity, High body mass index, Antenatal health care, Support, Midwives, Experiences, Qualitative interview study
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Midwifery & Radiography
Text - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons: Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0.

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