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Women's perspectives are required to inform the development of engaging maternal obesity services: A qualitative study of obese pregnant women's experiences

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Nicola Heslehurst, Professor Judith Rankin


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Background: Increasing focus on obesity in pregnancy has led to the development of guidelines internationally. Current guidelines lack the perspectives of obese pregnant women. Women's engagement with weight management support services is reportedly low. This study explored obese pregnant women's experiences to better understand their perspectives. Methods: Depth-interviews were carried out with pregnant women referred to an antenatal dietetic clinic in Northeast England. Discussion prompts were included; however, issues which women raised were explored thoroughly and women were encouraged to discuss their own experiences. Women were asked to summarise what they considered to be the most important issues to ensure thematic analyses placed appropriate emphasis on women's perspectives. Thematic saturation was confirmed. Results: Key issues included: women's weight; families; experiences of negativity; and priorities/desired outcomes. These combined represented women's perspectives of issues they considered important and integral to their lived experience of being obese and pregnant, and incorporated pregnancy-related experiences as well as life experiences. Conclusions: There are strong associations with women's lived experiences and engagement with antenatal weight-management services. Incorporating women's perspectives in the development of interventions could encourage engagement by focussing on their priorities and motivations, taking into consideration their socially-related experiences in addition to their clinical needs.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Heslehurst N, Russell S, Brandon H, Johnston C, Summerbell C, Rankin J

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: UK Conference on Weight Stigma and Health

Year of Conference: 2013