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Maternal Obesity and Patterns in Postnatal Diet, Physical Activity and Weight among a Highly Deprived Population in the UK: The GLOWING Pilot Trial

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Nicola HeslehurstORCiD, Dr Emer Cullen, Professor Judith Rankin, Emerita Professor Elaine McCollORCiD, Professor Falko Sniehotta, Cath McParlin



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2023 by the authors. Preconception obesity is associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes and deprivation. The postnatal period provides an opportunity for preconception intervention. There is a lack of published postnatal behaviour and weight data to inform intervention needs. Secondary analysis of the GLOWING study explored postnatal diet, physical activity (PA) and weight among women living with obesity in deprivation. Thirty-nine women completed food frequency and PA questionnaires and provided weight measurement(s) between 3–12 months postnatal. Women’s diet and PA fell short of national guidelines, especially for fruit/vegetables (median 1.6–2.0 portions/day) and oily fish (0–4 g/day). PA was predominantly light intensity. Patterns in weight change across time points indicated postnatal weight loss compared with 1st (median −0.8 to −2.3 kg) and 3rd-trimester weights (−9.0 to −11.6 kg). Weight loss was higher among women without excessive gestational weight gain (GWG) (−2.7 to −9.7 kg) than those with excessive GWG (2.3 to −1.8 kg), resulting in postnatal weight measurements lower than their 1st trimester. These pilot data suggest preconception interventions should commence in pregnancy with a focus on GWG, and postnatal women need early support to achieve guideline-recommendations for diet and PA. Further research in a larger population could inform preconception intervention strategies to tackle inequalities in maternal obesity and subsequent pregnancy outcomes.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Heslehurst N, Cullen E, Flynn AC, Briggs C, Smart L, Rankin J, McColl E, Sniehotta FF, McParlin C

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Nutrients

Year: 2023

Volume: 15

Issue: 17

Online publication date: 30/08/2023

Acceptance date: 29/08/2023

Date deposited: 18/09/2023

ISSN (electronic): 2072-6643

Publisher: MDPI


DOI: 10.3390/nu15173805

PubMed id: 37686838


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Funder referenceFunder name
National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Postdoctoral Research Fellowship