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Australian Pregnant Women’s Awareness of Gestational Weight Gain and Dietary Guidelines:Opportunity for Action
Background: Excessive gestational weight gain (GWG) can negatively impact on maternal and foetal health. Guidelines based on Institute of Medicine (IOM) encourage managing GWG by following healthy eating recommendations and increasing physical activity. This study investigated pregnant women's knowledge of their optimal GWG and recommended dietary approaches for GWG management. Method: English-speaking pregnant women were recruited from five hospitals in New South Wales (Australia) and an online link. Prepregnancy Body Mass Index (BMI) was calculated from self-reported height and prepregnancy weight. Participants identified their recommended GWG. A survey assessed practical dietary knowledge and asked about broad dietary recommendations to prevent excessive GWG. Chi square and logistic regression analyses were used. Results: N = 326 pregnant women completed the surveys; 49% entered pregnancy overweight (25.2%) or obese (23.6%); and knowledge of recommended GWG was lacking. Prepregnancy BMI was a significant predictor of GWG recommendation knowledge (P < 0.000). Pregnant women were highly knowledgeable about broad dietary recommendations but had poor knowledge of detailed recommendations. Conclusions: Limited knowledge of IOM's GWG guidelines and of specific dietary recommendations for pregnancy should be addressed by health care providers and education initiatives to assist the high number of women who enter pregnancy overweight or obese.
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