OBJECTIVE: to explore routine weighing in antenatal care and weight management in pregnancy with women who have been weighed during pregnancy.
DESIGN: a qualitative study utilising semi-structured telephone interviews, and thematic analysis.
SETTING: participants resided in Dublin, Ireland and had been weighed during pregnancy.
PARTICIPANTS: individual telephone interviews conducted with ten postpartum women (nine months postpartum).
FINDINGS: experiences of routine weighing were positive, and participants believed it should be part of standard antenatal care. Several benefits to routine weighing were cited, including providing reassurance and minimising postpartum weight retention. It was felt that there was a lack of information provided on gestational weight gain and healthy lifestyle in pregnancy, and that healthcare professionals are ideally placed to provide this advice. Increased information provision was seen as a method to improve healthy lifestyle behaviours in pregnancy.
KEY CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: these findings contribute to the current debate about the re-introduction of routine weighing throughout pregnancy (Allen-Walker et al., 2016). Women stated that they expected to be weighed during pregnancy and, contrary to previous claims, there was no evidence that routine weighing during antenatal care caused anxiety. From discussions it was clear that women desired more information on gestational weight gain and a healthy lifestyle, and felt that health professionals should provide this.