Get access

A review of national health policies and professional guidelines on maternal obesity and weight gain in pregnancy

Authors

  • N. L. Schumann,

    1. Department of Health Services Research and Policy, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK
    2. World Obesity Federation (formerly the International Association for the Study of Obesity), London, UK
    Search for more papers by this author
  • H. Brinsden,

    Corresponding author
    1. World Obesity Federation (formerly the International Association for the Study of Obesity), London, UK
    • Address for correspondence: Ms Hannah Brinsden, World Obesity Federation, Charles Darwin House, 12 Roger Street, London, WC1N 2JU, UK. E-mail: hbrinsden@worldobesity.org

    Search for more papers by this author
  • T. Lobstein

    1. World Obesity Federation (formerly the International Association for the Study of Obesity), London, UK
    Search for more papers by this author

Summary

Maternal obesity creates an additional demand for health-care services, as the routine obstetric care pathway requires alterations to ensure the most optimal care for obese women of childbearing age. This review examines the extent to which relevant national health documents reflect and respond to the health implications of maternal obesity and excessive gestational weight gain. A targeted search of peer-reviewed publications and grey literature was conducted for each country to identify national health documents, which were subsequently content analyzed according to an adapted framework. A total of 37 documents were identified, including one policy, 10 strategies and 26 guidelines, published within the last 10 years. Out of the 31 countries investigated, only 13 countries address maternal obesity while none address excessive gestational weight gain. We found inconsistencies and gaps in the recommendations to health-care service providers for the management of maternal obesity and weight gain in pregnancy. The findings show that only limited guidance on maternal obesity and gestational weight gain exists. The authors recommend that international, evidence-based guidelines on the management of maternal obesity and excessive gestational weight gain should be developed to reduce the associated health-care and economic costs.

Ancillary