Healthy Weight Gain in Pregnancy: A Clinicians Tool for Individualized, Patient-Focused Collaboration


Poster Presentation

Purpose for the Program

The purpose of this poster presentation is to share a tool developed by the Washington State Department of Health for prenatal clinicians to use to engage patients in developing goals and healthy behaviors, and provide individualized resources for healthy weight gain during pregnancy.

Proposed Change

Five obstetric (OB) practices were presented with the tool as a way to address healthy weight gain during the first prenatal (intake) exam. Previously, one of these practices did not formally address weight gain and the other four did not have a patient-based tool. The goal was to get each clinic to use the tool.

Implementation, Outcomes, and Evaluation

In a pilot, five OB practices throughout the Southwest Region of Washington State were presented with the “Healthy Weight Gain in Pregnancy” tool, along with a “Clinician's Tool for Healthy Weight Gain in Pregnancy” to help clinicians with assessment, dialog, and monitoring. Represented were one urban, underserved OB access clinic; one urban family practice and residency practice; one urban OB practice; one suburban OB practice; and one rural OB practice. The clinician tools and patient tools were given to each practice (in laminated pad form) in three languages: English, Spanish, and Russian. After 3 months, each practice was queried regarding whether healthcare providers were using the tool, the patient interaction and success in engagement, and plans to continue the use of the tool. Of the five practices, only the rural practice did not embrace the tool—probably because of significant changes in staff, healthcare providers, and management. All others incorporated the tool in their OB intake process. The OB access clinic used the tool in their Centering/Group visit program and the other practices used the tool as part of their OB intake interview. Most successful in embracing the tool was the suburban practice, which used the tool and resources within the tool to develop plans that were incorporated into their electronic medical record (EMR) and monitor weight gain based on the goals developed.

Implications for Nursing Practice

The purpose of presenting this poster is genuinely to share this tool with others. Many healthcare providers are seeking a tool that will help engage patients and are eager to find something that has already been developed and can be used in their practices. This tool is a tangible, readily accessible way to involve patients and have them participate in healthy behaviors for healthy pregnancies and healthy birth outcomes.