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Prenatal health-care providers inconsistent in weight-gain counseling
Date:3/23/2010

A new study from UCSF shows that prenatal health care professionals are concerned about patients' excessive weight gain during pregnancy but have difficulty providing effective counseling.

Rates of excessive weight gain during pregnancy, which is associated with short- and long-term adverse health outcomes for mothers and children, have increased in the United States according to the researchers. Health care providers agree that weight gain is an important topic to broach with pregnant women, yet the researchers identified inconsistent counseling styles among clinicians as well as barriers preventing doctors and nurses from discussing the issue. Barriers include insufficient training, concern about the sensitivity of the topic and the perception that counseling is ineffective.

Study findings will be reported in the April 2010 issue of the Journal of Women's Health and are available online this month at http://www.liebertonline.com/doi/pdfplus/10.1089/jwh.2009.1462 .

"Clinicians in the study raised concerns about shaming or stressing pregnant women, and often wait for patients to raise the question of proper weight gain. Many providers especially physicians also said they lacked education in weight management issues," said Naomi E. Stotland, MD, lead author of the study and assistant professor in the UCSF Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences.

The Institute of Medicine's (IOM) guidelines for weight gain during pregnancy are widely accepted by professional medical organizations. However, several providers said they did not proactively share the ranges with patients. Another clinician intentionally advised weight gain above the guidelines to avoid causing the patient anxiety and another thought the IOM weight gain guidelines are too high.

Of more than four million births annually in the United States, nearly 6
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Contact: Karin Rush-Monroe
Karin.Rush-Monroe@ucsf.edu
415-476-2557
University of California - San Francisco
Source:Eurekalert

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