Weight gain in pregnant women has been linked to childhood obesity in multiple studies. Standard pre-natal education includes information about maintaining a normal weight during pregnancy. However, even with education, eating habits are challenging to change.
At Morristown Medical Center, a program titled “prenatal family guidance and counseling program” is in place to provide overweight/obese pregnant women education and interventions on healthy lifestyles.
Armed with the knowledge that maternal weight gain leads to childhood obesity and can have lifelong implications for illness, maternal educators, nurses, physicians, and social workers at MMC worked together to shape an intervention. Building on the success of the Women’s Health Clinic, it was hypothesized that implementing an educational program for mothers elevated BMI during pregnancy would improve the number of children maintaining a healthy weight.
A prospective study is planned to identify mothers at risk for high-weight gain during pregnancy. Women identified who have an elevated BMI ≥ 25 will be offered the opportunity to participate in a research study. The study interventions will include dietary education focused on the patient/family, healthy snacks, the need for exercise, maintaining water intake, and stressing the importance of healthy eating to the future of children (Zhenyu Yanga & Sandra L. Huffmam, 2013).
Participants will sign an IRB-informed consent and agree to complete a food diary (24 hour) once per trimester and complete a survey at baseline and every trimester thereafter (baseline, second trimester, and third trimester). Both education and attitude about weight control will be assessed. Additionally, water intake, portion size, mindful eating, and healthy lifestyle choices will be collected. The key outcome measure for this study is to stay within the recommended ACOG guidelines for maternal weight gain at the final visit. Secondary outcomes are the successful transition to the family counseling and guidance program. The achievement of established milestones will be described (exercise, water intake, knowledge of five food groups).