Department of Community and Health Systems
The Right Weight Program to prevent excessive gestational weight gain in pregnant women
Excessive pregnancy weight gain can cause maternal gestational diabetes and cardiovascular disease, as well as increase infant’s risk for obesity. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) has developed allowable weight gain ranges for pregnant women depending on a woman’s pre-pregnancy BMI status. Adherence to the IOM weight gain recommendations is not easy. To help pregnant women prevent excessive weight gain and adhere to the IOM recommendations, I have developed the Right Weight Program which is an eight-week self-monitoring enhanced lifestyle intervention. The invention engages pregnant women in healthy eating and walking and have the women self-monitor their daily eating, walking and weight gain outcomes against preset goals. Self-monitoring empowers pregnant women to actively track a health behavior, evaluate the outcome of the behavior, and self-improve the behavior with minimal assistance. My pilot study showed a favorable trend in reduction of fat intake and increase in physical activity of the pregnant women in the intervention. I will continue to test the intervention with a larger study subjects. If proved to be effective, this intervention will be used as a home-based, self-management intervention or integrated into prenatal nutrition education and clinic weight assessment.