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Eating Habits, Advice from Family/Friends, and Limited Personal Effort May Increase the Likelihood of Gaining Outside Gestational Weight Gain Recommendations

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The present study analyzed the association between (i) eating habits during pregnancy, (ii) advice from family or friends about gestational weight gain (GWG), and iii) personal effort to stay within weight gain limits, and meeting GWG recommendations.


Participants included pregnant and postpartum women who completed the validated electronic maternal health survey (EMat). Sociodemographic, lifestyle variables, and body mass index were covariates used in the analyses.


Among all eligible women (1171), and a subset of women receiving a specific GWG target from HCP (365, 31.2%), participants who considered that their eating habits became less healthy, or could not evaluate if habits changed, had a higher likelihood of gaining above (adjusted odds ratio, aOR = 2.62; 95% CI 1.84; 3.73 for the total sample (TS); aOR = 4.79; CI 2.32;9.88 for the subset) GWG guidelines after adjusting for the covariates. Women who received advice from family or friends about how much weight they should gain while pregnant were more likely to experience GWG below (TS: aOR = 1.49; CI 1.02;2.17; subset: aOR = 1.95; CI 1.03;3.68) and above (TS: aOR = 1.42; CI 1.01;1.99; subset: aOR = 1.92; CI 1.06;3.48) guidelines, when compared to women who did not receive family/friends advice. Moreover, lower personal effort to stay within weight gain limits was associated with gaining below (TS: aOR = 1.77; CI 1.07;2.92; subset: aOR = 2.71; CI 1.30; 5.65) GWG guidelines.

Conclusions for Practice

Women self-reporting less healthy eating habits than before pregnancy, receiving advice from family/friends about GWG, and lower personal effort to stay within guidelines, had an increased odds of weight gain discordant with recommendations.

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The authors would like to thank all the women who contributed taking the time to complete the Electronic Maternal health survey, their participation is highly valued by the scientific research community.


KBA is supported by the Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR) and the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC). TSN is funded by a Mitacs Post-Doctoral Fellowship in partnership with The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada.

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Correspondence to Kristi B. Adamo.

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Souza, S.C.S., da Silva, D.F., Nagpal, T.S. et al. Eating Habits, Advice from Family/Friends, and Limited Personal Effort May Increase the Likelihood of Gaining Outside Gestational Weight Gain Recommendations. Matern Child Health J 24, 1473–1481 (2020).

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