A qualitative exploration of the experiences of pregnant women living with obesity and accessing antenatal care

MARGARET CHARNLEY, Dr Lisa Newson, Andrew D Weeks, J C Abayomi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
9 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Women are advised to optimise weight before pregnancy. However, many are either already living with overweight or obesity prior to becoming pregnant, increasing the risks for adverse outcomes. Health care professionals (HCP) are responsible for advising women of risks throughout and following pregnancy. However, midwives find broaching the conversation around maternal obesity difficult. This difficulty may be due to insufficient knowledge regarding the management of obesity during pregnancy or because they do not wish to offend. This study explored the experiences of accessing antenatal care in pregnant women living with obesity. Seventeen women completed a semi-structuredinterview. Transcripts were analysed thematically. Four themes were developed:1) antenatal care is inconsistent, 2)additional support is needed, 3) women feel judged about their weight, and 4) weight cycling is highly prevalent. Findings suggest that pregnant women living with obesity often experience weight bias from HCPs, feel judged because of their weight and are left feeling confused andoverlooked. Women reported inconsistencies in advice and care offered,and acknowledged a lack of continuity of care throughout pregnancy. We call for an urgent need for further multidisciplinary training to address the concerns, experiences and needs of pregnant women living with obesity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
JournalPLoS One
Early online date3 May 2024
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 May 2024

Keywords

  • Pregnancy
  • Antenatal care

Research Institutes

  • Health Research Institute

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