Objective: To evaluate factors influencing excessive weight gain during pregnancy and changes in eating patterns from the pre-pregnancy period among low-income women (<185% poverty level). Design, Setting, & Participants: Low-income women who were at least 7-months pregnant and gained excess weight (n= 14) or normal weight (n=15) were interviewed. Questions pertained to previous nutritional knowledge, eating patterns, and sources for obtaining nutrition information.
Outcome Measures and Analysis: Transcripts were coded independently by two researchers, with any differences reconciled. Common themes were discussed and tallied to determine the most commonly re-occurring topics reported in the interviews.
Results: Most of the excess weight gainers (EWG) and recommended weight gainers (RWG) had a heightened awareness of their eating patterns and became more concerned about the impact their diet had on their fetus' health during (vs. before) pregnancy. EWG and RWG received limited nutrition- and weight-related advice from their doctors, and relied on alternate sources of information, such as pregnancy books and online websites. The most noted difference between the groups was that RWG reported more accurate nutrition knowledge than EWG.
Conclusions and Implications: Nutrition knowledge indirectly affects the amount of weight women gain during pregnancy. EWG and RWG received minimal nutritional and weight-related advice from doctors during or after pregnancy. This suggests the need for increased counseling efforts by doctors in providing appropriate nutrition and weight-related advice to their patients or providing outside referrals to registered dietitians.



College and Department

Life Sciences; Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Science



Date Submitted


Document Type





pregnancy, excess weight gain, nutrition knowledge, nutrition advice, physicians, health perception