Healthy Weight Management in Pregnancy

Published on: 03/08/2018

The Royal College of Midwives would like to see clear guidance on healthy weight management during pregnancy.

Surveys of 110 midwives and 740 women revealed a number of issues to be addressed. Expectant mums felt there wasn’t clear information available and many midwives felt unprepared to offer support and help in the absence of clear guidelines and lack of training offered in this area.

91% of women surveyed said that pregnancy was a time they would be open to discussing their weight and health, yet less than half discussed this with their midwife and just 10% were weighed throughout their pregnancy.

43% of midwives surveyed felt that a lack of training or guidance in this area meant that they did not feel confident in offering the best advice possible on healthy weight management. 62% were worried about causing offence if asking women to be weighed. Almost a quarter of midwives did not have the facilities to weigh women within some of the settings they offer care.
90% of midwives said they would feel much more confident if they had formal guidance on healthy weight gain during pregnancy.

Gill Walton, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Midwives, said: “There is strong evidence of the risks of obesity and excess weight gain in pregnancy and yet there are no UK guidelines on what constitutes a safe weight gain, and many midwives have to use their own initiative and refer to American guidance.
We are calling for clear guidance on healthy weight management in pregnancy and will be looking at how we can take this forward so that women and midwives have the information, support and resources needed.”

The surveys were led by the Royal College of Midwives and Slimming World. Carolyn Pallister, Slimming World Public Health Manager and Dietitian, says: “As part of our partnership with the Royal College of Midwives, Slimming World welcomes pregnant members; however our service is very different for those that are expecting. We do not suggest any significant weight change – gain or loss – during pregnancy. Instead, we support members to eat a healthy, balanced diet and remain physically active where appropriate. Our priority is a happy, healthy, mum-to-be!

We would be really interested in hearing from midwives from different Trusts about their views on this and what initiatives are in place where you are. From the figures mentioned, we would understand that this survey is a small section of the UK population of women and midwives and wonder if Trusts that may be already tackling this issue would like to share their thoughts / initiatives for us to publish on our website to offer inspiration?
Please email you have some information you would like to share.