Not Too Little, Not Too Much: Gaining Weight In Pregnancy

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5th October 2009, 01:37pm - Views: 929

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Not too little, not too much: gaining weight in pregnancy

With research showing most women either gain too much weight during pregnancy

or not enough, a new study by RMIT University and the Parenting Research Centre

aims to find out why.

“A Healthy Path to Motherhood” will explore what influences women’s health

behaviours and weight gain during pregnancy, with the aim of improving the

effectiveness of current treatment programs.

Pregnant women aged over 18 and within the first 18 weeks of pregnancy are

needed to take part in the study, which involves completing two surveys about

eating, physical activity and weight, as well as possible influencing factors including

mood, body image, and fatigue.

RMIT doctoral researcher Jessica Tata said previous studies suggested fewer than

40 per cent of women gained the recommended weight during pregnancy, with 40

per cent gaining too much and 20 per cent too little.

“There are multiple health risks associated with being underweight or overweight

during pregnancy for both the mother and baby, including pregnancy

complications, low and high infant birth weight, as well as increased risk of post-

partum weight retention for those who gain too much weight,” Ms Tata said.

“While we know the risks, the results of current treatment programs have been


“We need a better understanding of the influences on health behaviours and

weight gain during pregnancy to improve the effectiveness of these interventions.”

Ms Tata said previous research had identified important factors that influenced

health behaviours and weight gain, such as stress, social support and body image.

“This study is unique in comprehensively considering health behaviours, weight

gain as well as a range of lifestyle influences such as the thoughts, behaviours and

emotions associated with body image and eating,” she said. 

“This approach will allow us to explore in depth the relationships and relative

importance of these factors on healthy weight gain.” 

For more information or to volunteer, contact Jessica Tata (,

research supervisor Associate Professor Jan Matthews (,

or phone the Parenting Research Centre on (03) 8660 3500.

For interviews: Jessica Tata, 0422 036 830.

For general media enquiries: RMIT University Communications, Gosia

Kaszubska, (03) 9925 3176 or 0417 510 735.

5 October, 2009

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