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Int J Womens Health. 2013 Sep 30;5:629-36. doi: 10.2147/IJWH.S49422. eCollection 2013.

Counseling about gestational weight gain and healthy lifestyle during pregnancy: Canadian maternity care providers' self-evaluation.

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Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research Group, Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.



There is discord between the recall of maternity care providers and patients when it comes to discussion of gestational weight gain (GWG) and obesity management. Few women report being advised on GWG, physical activity (PA), and nutrition, yet the majority of health care providers report discussing these topics with patients. We evaluated whether various Canadian maternal health care providers can identify appropriate GWG targets for patients with obesity and determine if providers report counseling on GWG, physical activity, and nutrition.


A valid and reliable e-survey was created using SurveyMonkey software and distributed by the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada listserve. A total of 174 health care providers finished the survey. Respondents self-identified as general practitioners, obstetricians, maternal-fetal medicine specialists, midwives, or registered nurses.


GWG recommendations between disciplines for all body mass index categories were similar and fell within Health Canada/Institute of Medicine (IOM) guidelines. Of those who answered this question, 110/160 (68.8%) were able to correctly identify the maximum IOM GWG recommended for patients with obesity, yet midwives tended to recommend 0.5-1 kg more GWG (P = 0.05). PA counseling during pregnancy differed between disciplines (P < 0.01), as did nutrition counseling during pregnancy (P < 0.05).


In contrast to patient reports, the majority of health care providers document counseling on GWG, PA, and nutrition and appropriately identify GWG limits for obese patients. However, the content and quality of the discourse between patient and provider warrants further investigation.


gestational weight gain; nutrition; obesity; physical activity; pregnancy

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