BACKGROUND: Regular weighing in pregnant women is not currently recommended in many countries but has been suggested to prevent excessive gestational weight gain. This study aimed to establish the feasibility and acceptability of incorporating regular weighing, setting maximum weight gain targets and feedback by community midwives.
METHODS: Low risk pregnant women cared for by eight community midwives were randomised to usual care or usual care plus the intervention at 10-14 weeks of pregnancy. The intervention involved community midwives weighing and plotting weight on a weight gain chart, setting weight gain limit targets, giving brief feedback at each antenatal appointment and encouraging women to weigh themselves weekly between antenatal appointments. Women and midwives were interviewed about their views of the intervention. The focus of the study was on process evaluation.
RESULTS: Community midwives referred 123 women and 115 were scheduled for their dating scan within the study period. Of these, 84/115 were approached at their dating scan and 76/84 (90.5 %) randomised. Data showed a modest difference favouring the intervention group in the percentage of women gaining excessive gestational weight (23.5 % versus 29.4 %). The intervention group consistently reported smaller increases in depression and anxiety scores throughout pregnancy compared with usual care. Most women commented the intervention was useful in encouraging them to think about their weight and believed it should be part of routine antenatal care. Community midwives felt the intervention could be implemented within routine care without adding substantially to consultation length, thus not perceived as adding substantially to their workload.
CONCLUSIONS: The intervention was feasible and acceptable to pregnant women and community midwives and was readily implemented in routine care.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: ISRCTN81605162.
- Gestational weight gain
- Regular weighing
- Weight gain limits
- Community midwives