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Keywords:

  • pregnancy weight gain;
  • postpartum weight loss

Poster Presentation

  1. Top of page
  2. Poster Presentation

Objective

To determine what women perceive they need to avoid excessive weight gain related to childbearing.

Design

Descriptive qualitative interviews.

Setting

Interviews at a place that was convenient to the women.

Patients/Participants

Six pregnant women and seven women with children 7 years or older participated. All were 18 or older. These criteria were chosen to capture the pregnancy perspective and the longer term perspective. The 7-year time frame was chosen so women would have ample time to lose postpartum weight and so they could reflect back on what might have been helpful. Also, this time frame would put them beyond the initial all-consuming childcare demands of the newborn period. This is also the period of time when children start to attend a full day of school, which would allow more women the possibility of participating and the mental resources to devote to the task.

Methods

Interviews began with the lead question: “Please tell me what you need (needed) to prevent long-term weight gain from your pregnancy.” Probes were used as needed to solicit additional details. Women were also encouraged to focus on the broad perspective of what they might need, including governmental policies and environmental changes. All interviews were audio taped for accurate transcription. Analysis and was done via Giorgi's method, which includes reading notes and transcripts to gain an understanding of the whole, translation to the language of science, and integration into the meaning of the study.

Results

Common themes were identified among pregnant and nonpregnant women. These themes included the following: the need for exercise, older age makes losing weight more difficult, having a routine that includes exercise/time management is important, family/social support is important, breastfeeding, role strain mom versus career, and more education on nutrition and exercise is needed from healthcare providers.

Conclusion/Implications for Nursing Practice

The themes discussed by the women who participated in this study are similar to those discussed in previous research. Though the focus of this study was women's perception of more broad factors that might be related to excessive pregnancy weight gain and postpartum weight retention, most women did not address these issues in a significant way. Even with the use of probes, women in the study still tended to go back to the individual level issues (e.g., family support, role strain, effects of older age). This may reflect the common cultural belief in the United States that emphasizes individual responsibility.