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Prenatal Healthcare Providers Inconsistent In Weight Gain Counseling
Date:3/22/2010

ofessor 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 60 percent of mothers begin pregnancy either overweight or obese, so prenatal care may be an opportune time for healthcare providers to help women make positive lifestyle changes in nutrition and physical activity that affect weight, Stotland said.

During pregnancy, perhaps unlike any other time in a woman's life, most women see a healthcare provider frequently to receive prenatal care. Pregnant women may be especially motivated to make lifestyle changes out of concern for the health of their offspring.

“It is important to identify new tools that will enable clinicians to more easily and effectively counsel pregnant woman so that together they can determine strategies to achieve the healthiest weight for that individual,” Stotland said. “I also would encourage women to initiate the conversation if their doctors are not raising the topic of weight gain.”

“Simple messages from clinicians to patients about nutrition and physical activity during pregnancy have been shown to have an important positive impact on patient behaviors. We encourage clinicians to take this opportunity to improve the health of their patients. Every pregnant woman has the potential to leave pregnancy in better health than when she began pregnancy,” according to Barbara Gerbert, PhD, senior author of the study and professor in the Division of Behavioral Sciences
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