Maternal nutrition and weight management in pregnancy: A nudge in the right direction

Ruth Walker, A. Kumar, M. Blumfield, H. Truby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleOtherpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Suboptimal maternal nutrition and excessive gestational weight gain (GWG) establish in mothers and their offspring a weight gain trajectory towards overweight and obesity. Therefore, pregnancy may be the best opportunity to disrupt the generational cycle of obesity. More than half of women in the UK now enter pregnancy overweight or obese, highlighting that if interventions are not targeted towards women in higher weight categories before conception they are likely to ‘miss the mark’. To address issues of suboptimal maternal nutrition and excessive GWG in antenatal care, health professionals need to consider how women’s requirements and expectations may have changed in recent years and the impact of weight stigma on the care of women who are obese. This paper aims to drive changes in clinical practice guidelines, medical curricula, the language used by health professionals, and ultimately promote maternal nutrition and weight management in pregnancy as key priorities during antenatal care. Evidence indicates that women want non-judgemental, simple and encouraging guidance in these areas. Small changes to health professionals’ practice can improve how advice regarding nutrition and weight management in pregnancy is delivered, and has the potential to reduce overweight and obesity prevalence in women and their children in the years to come. Surely that goal is worth pursuing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-78
Number of pages10
JournalNutrition Bulletin
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2018


  • Bodyweight
  • Nutrition
  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy

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