How Pregnant African American Women View Pregnancy Weight Gain

Authors


  • Disclosure: The authors report no conflict of interest or relevant financial relationships.

Correspondence

Susan W. Groth PhD, RN, WHNP-BC, University of Rochester, School of Nursing, 601 Elmwood Ave. Box SON, Rochester, NY 14642. Susan_groth@ urmc.rochester.edu

ABSTRACT

Objective

To gain insight into how low-income, pregnant African American women viewed their weight gain while pregnant and how they managed their weight during pregnancy.

Design

Descriptive study using three focus groups.

Setting

Women were recruited from urban prenatal care sites and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) services in a medium-sized urban northeastern city.

Participants

Twenty-six adult, low-income, pregnant African American women, age 18 to 39; the majority were within the first 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Methods

Three focus groups were conducted utilizing open-ended questions related to pregnancy weight gain. Content analysis was used to analyze the verbatim transcripts. Analysis focused on meaning, intention, and context. Groups were compared and contrasted at the within and between group levels to identify themes.

Results

Four themes were identified that provided insight into how women viewed their pregnancy weight gain and managed weight gain during pregnancy: (a) pregnancy weight gain: no matter how much means a healthy baby; (b) weight retention: it happens; (c) there is a limit: weight gain impact on appearance; and (d) watching and waiting: plans for controlling weight.

Conclusion

Low-income African American women, though cognizant of the likelihood of retention of weight following pregnancy, are not focused on limiting their gestational weight gain. The cultural acceptance of a larger body size along with the belief that gaining more weight is indicative of a healthy infant present challenges for interventions to limit excessive gestational weight gain.

Ancillary