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Comprehensive Questionnaire in postpartum women to Assess Women’s Knowledge of the Current Weight Gain Guidelines during Pregnancy in Lower Saxory

Introduction:
Maternal body mass index and gestational weight gain (GWG) are important factors for maternal and neonatal health. The objective of this study was to assess women’s knowledge and examine adherence to the Institute of Medicine (IOM) criteria for weight gain during pregnancy by evaluating the information received from obstetricians and women’s knowledge about GWG.
Methods:
This is an analytical semi-longitudinal observational study. Weight data from a not consecutive convenience sample of 389 women who gave birth at the Hannover Medical School in the period from 08/2020 to 07/2021 were taken from their maternal records. Immediately after giving birth the whole collective (n=389) was asked to participate in a questionnaire study including questions that were taken from the EMat Health Survey inquiring about their knowledge and received information about GWG and about their eating behavior. Here a subset of 202 women participated.
Results:
65% of the participants who answered the questionnaire reported that they had not been informed by their obstetrician about GWG recommendations. Additionally, a minority of women knew the correct IOM GWG category based on their pre-pregnancy weight. Meeting the IOM GWG guidelines did not depend on whether or not women received GWG recommendations or knew about the correct GWG category. The majority of women were not concerned about gaining too much weight during pregnancy. 20.7% of all women participating in the study were affected by obesity pre-pregnancy. According the IOM criteria for GWG 50.4% gained too much weight. The proportion of women exceeding IOM recommendations was highest in women with pre-pregnancy overweight and obesity (67%).
Discussion:
Weight gain outside of the IOM recommendations is widespread in our survey. Information received and knowledge about GWG recommendations were inadequate in our sample. Considering the fact that GWG outside recommended ranges can contribute to short- and long-term health complications, especially when a woman enters pregnancy already with overweight or obesity, identifying ways of achieving a healthier GWG is warranted.

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