It is well known that being overweight or obese increases the risk of health problems, and that many people find it difficult to maintain a healthy weight. Worryingly the rise in obesity is greater in women than in the male population. One possible reason for this is that some women gain too much weight during their pregnancy and find it difficult to lose this weight after the birth of their baby. For example, women who gain more weight than recommended during pregnancy have been shown to be more likely to carry excess that weight at 1 and 15 years after pregnancy, compared to women who gained the recommended amount of weight.
There are currently no evidence-based guidelines in the UK for how weight should be managed during pregnancy. For these reasons, it is really important that we understand the factors affecting weight management before, during and after pregnancy.
The aim of this research is therefore to find successful approaches to help women manage their weight before, during and after pregnancy. This will be completed by understanding the knowledge, attitudes, experiences and expectations of women during and after pregnancy and to identify the factors (e.g. diet, physical activity, poor social network etc.) which influence body weight. This will enable us to suggest better strategies for promoting healthy weight changes during and after pregnancy.