Background: Obesity has become a serious global public health issue and has consequences for nearly all areas of medicine. Within obstetrics, obesity not only has direct implications for the health of a pregnancy but also impacts on the weight of the child in infancy and beyond. As such, maternal weight may influence the prevalence and severity of obesity in future generations. Pregnancy has been identified as a key time to target a weight control or weight loss strategy to help curb the rapidly growing obesity epidemic. In addition, if delivered sensitively, pregnancy may be a good time to target health behaviour changes by using the extra motivation women tend to have at this time to maximise the health of their child.
Aim: This study reviews the current evidence for interventions to promote weight control or weight loss in women around the time of pregnancy. A comprehensive review of medical research – PubMed, Embase, Ovid Medline and the Cochrane Clinical Trials register – showed that despite numerous reports of the prevalence and complications of maternal obesity, few intervention strategies have been suggested.
Conclusion: This study finds that there is a deficiency of appropriately designed interventions for maternal obesity and it concludes by highlighting areas for developing a more effective strategy.