Interventions to change maternity healthcare professionals' behaviours to promote weight-related support for obese pregnant women: a systematic review

Heslehurst, Nicola; Crowe, Lisa; Robalino, Shannon; Sniehotta, Falko F.; McColl, Prof Elaine; Rankin, Judith
August 2014
Implementation Science;2014, Vol. 9 Issue 1, p1
Academic Journal
Background There has been a rapid increase in the publication of guidelines for managing obesity and weight gain during pregnancy over the past five years. Healthcare professionals have identified multiple barriers to this area of practice, including the need to improve their communication skills, beliefs that pregnant women will have negative reactions to weightrelated discussions, and a lack of weight management knowledge. This systematic review aimed to identify: the effectiveness of interventions in changing healthcare professionals' practice relating to maternal obesity or weight management during pregnancy; and which behaviour change techniques and modes of intervention delivery have been used in interventions to date. Findings The search strategy included searching electronic databases, trial registers, and citation searching. Inclusion criteria were intervention studies targeted towards changing healthcare professionals' practice in relation to maternal obesity or weight management. The searches identified 3,608 studies. However, no eligible completed studies were identified. One registered Canadian randomised controlled trial was identified. The trial includes a training intervention for family physicians with the aim of supporting adherence to gestational weight gain guidelines. The trial had not yet commenced therefore no effectiveness data were available. Conclusions The current focus of maternal obesity and weight management research is targeted towards changing pregnant women's behaviours. These interventions do not address the multiple healthcare professionals' barriers to maternal obesity and weight management practice. Further research is required to identify the most effective approaches to support healthcare professionals to implement maternal obesity and weight management guidelines into practice.


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