Maternal weight: Impact on pregnancy and beyond

Research output: Contribution to journalMagazine ArticleProfessional


After completing this CPD activity, pharmacists should be able to:
• Describe the physiological role of weight gain in pregnancy.
• Describe the health implications of abnormal weight changes in pregnancy.
• Provide evidence-based advice to support women to maintain a healthy weight gain in pregnancy and a healthy weight loss post-partum.

Women’s weight status, body image and eating patterns are affected by issues
related to their reproductive health, during preconception, pregnancy and postpartum. Abnormal weight gain or weight loss can impact on all areas of medicine, with obesity one of the most challenging global public health issues.

In obstetrics, excessive gestational weight gain (GWG), preconception obesity or postpartum weight retention impact on both maternal and neonatal health. Recent studies also demonstrate the influence of maternal nutrition and abnormal weight changes on the prevalence of obesity in subsequent generations (epigenetics). For many primary healthcare professionals, pregnancy and postpartum represent an opportunity to break the epigenetic cycle and reduce the susceptibility of offspring to a wide range of non-communicable diseases in later life, including allergic, metabolic, psychiatric
and neurodegenerative disorders. This review outlines why a healthy pregnancy requires controlled weight gain but how fixation on body image can place undue pressure on new mothers to achieve rapid weight loss. Strategies for healthy postpartum weight loss are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-61
Number of pages5
JournalRetail Pharmacy
Issue numberOCT
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020


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