Weighing as part of your care: a feasibility study exploring the re-introduction of weight measurements during pregnancy as part of routine antenatal care
V. Allen-Walker; A. J. Hunter; V. A. Holmes; M. C. McKinley
Year of publication
BMC Pregnancy Childbirth
BACKGROUND: The UK does not currently have guidelines on gestational weight gain owing to gaps in the evidence base. Reintroducing routine weighing of women throughout pregnancy would begin to provide the evidence needed to fill this gap. The aim of this research was to re-introduce measurement of weight at each routine antenatal appointment in a small scale study, in order to determine the feasibility and acceptability of implementing the practice on a larger scale. METHODS: A feasibility study, incorporating quantitative and qualitative components, was conducted in one antenatal hospital clinic and with one community midwifery team. Thirty-eight pregnant women were recruited at their 20 week anomaly scan appointment and weighed at their appointments throughout the rest of their pregnancy; five participated in a telephone interview at approximately 37 weeks gestation. Data were collected on: numbers consenting to be weighed, reasons for declining to be weighed and number of weight measurements recorded. Qualitative interviews were used to explore acceptability of the practice to pregnant women. RESULTS: Overall, 79.2% (38 out of 48) of those approached consented to being weighed throughout pregnancy; of the 10 who declined, three cited not wanting to be weighed. In the interviews, women discussed routine weighing as a positive experience, described several benefits of weighing and indicated they would like more information about weight during pregnancy. No major barriers to the integration of a weight measurement into routine antenatal appointments were encountered. Completion of the weight record sheets that were inserted into women's handheld notes varied between staff: of the 26 sheets recovered from handheld notes, only 3 (11.5%) had no weights recorded, 17 (65.4%) had between one and three weights recorded and six (23.1%) had more than 4 weights recorded. CONCLUSIONS: In this feasibility study, routine weighing was acceptable to pregnant women. No barriers that would inhibit re-introduction of weighing women throughout pregnancy into standard antenatal care were encountered. Implementation of routine weighing during pregnancy on a larger scale should be considered as it may have benefits for women in the short and long-term, particularly with regard to informing appropriate gestational weight gain guidelines in the UK.