Patient and doctor attitudes towards obesity in pregnancy

Type Article

Journal Article


S. Lee; Y. O’brien; K. Astbury

Year of publication



Irish Medical Journal







Aim This study aimed to assess antenatal patients’ knowledge of the risks associated with obesity in pregnancy and to identify factors that hinder communication between patients and doctors on this issue. Methods Qualitative surveys were circulated to women at their booking visits and to doctors working in the unit. Results 76 women and 20 doctors were recruited to the study. 58% (n=44) of women were overweight and 25% (n=19) were obese. Most women (82%, n=62) reported being aware of the risks associated with obesity in pregnancy. 8% (n=6) said they would be upset if a doctor addressed their weight with them; however, the preferred healthcare provider to address weight was a midwife. Women preferred to receive information from a healthcare provider than a leaflet or online source. 70% (n=14) of doctors did not address weight unless the woman’s BMI was >34.9kg/m2. The most common reason for not addressing weight was not wanting to upset the woman (20%, n=4), however only 35% (n=7) of doctors were aware of services available to offer to obese women. Conclusion Women want healthcare providers to address weight management with them. Doctors should be proactive in discussing obesity and be able to provide appropriate support measures for obese obstetric patients.