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  8. Responses to gestational weight management guidance: a thematic analysis of comments made by women in online parenting forums

Responses to gestational weight management guidance: a thematic analysis of comments made by women in online parenting forums

Background

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) published guidance on weight management in pregnancy in July 2010, and this received considerable press coverage. This offered an opportunity to examine how gestational weight management guidance was received by UK women.

Methods

A thematic analysis was conducted of 400 posts made in UK-based parenting internet forums in the week following the publication of the NICE guidance. This allowed us to examine the naturally occurring comments from 202 women who posted about the guidance on public forums.

Results

Three main themes were identified and explored: i) Perceived control/responsibility ii) Risk perception iii) Confused messages.

Conclusions

Women differed in their perceptions of the level of control that they had over being overweight, with some feeling responsible and motivated to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Others felt there were multiple factors influencing their weight issues beyond their control. There were reports of feeling guilty about the impact of weight on the growing baby, and experiencing significant obesity stigma from the public and health professionals. 

Information about the risks of obesity in pregnancy were difficult messages for women to hear, and for health professionals to deliver. Women reported being confused by the messages that they received. Health messages need to be delivered sensitively to women, and health professionals need support and training to do this. Risk information should always be accompanied with clear advice and support to help women to manage their weight in pregnancy.

Outputs

Papers Arden MA, Duxbury AMS, Soltani H Responses to gestational weight management guidance: a thematic analysis of comments made by women in online parenting forums BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth (in press)

Posters and abstracts Arden MA, Duxbury AMS, Soltani H What women really think about gestational weight management: A thematic analysis of posts made in online parenting forums Association for the Study of Obesity, Obese Pregnancy-mechanisms and potential interventions conference 12th March 2014

Arden MA, Duxbury AMS, Soltani H What women really think about gestational weight management: A thematic analysis of posts made in online parenting forums Health and wellbeing faculty research day, 4th June 2014

Presentations Arden MA, Duxbury AMS, Soltani H What women really think about gestational weight management: A thematic analysis of posts made in online parenting forums Sheffield Hallam Research Conference, Psychology, Sociology and Politics, 19th December 2013

Arden MA, Duxbury AMS, Soltani H What women really think about gestational weight management: A thematic analysis of posts made in online parenting forums Weighing it up, Maternal obesity conference, Doncaster Royal Infirmary,3rd April 2014

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