Case 3: Forebyggelse af vægtøgning hos gravide

How might we help postpartum women to weight control after birth?

The number of women who gain more weight than recommended, during their pregnancy, is increasing (IOM).

After a pregnancy, the women will normally lose some weight, but the tendency shows that a lot of postpartum women do not gain a healthy control of their weight, leaving them with a higher BMI at a later pregnancy compared to the prior.

Consequently, these women are at risk of being overweight or obese later in life, and of developing lifestyle diseases like Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

It is therefore important to motivate postpartum mothers to a healthy lifestyle and weight control, to prevent diseases related to overweight and obesity, and to give future offspring a healthy start in life.

At the present, postpartum women only receive limited amount of information on healthy lifestyle and weight control in the postpartum period.

This often leaves them with a lack of knowledge on the importance of a healthy lifestyle and weight control in the postpartum period, how to train the body after a pregnancy, and for some how to eat healthy.

Once the baby is born, women normally prioritise their babies’ needs, and do not focus much on their own body and wellbeing.

Lack of time and sleep may also cause that a healthy lifestyle and weight control is being less prioritised.

The physical changes from the pregnancy and birth cause that postpartum women are not able to train their body, like they could prior to the pregnancy, in the months after the birth.

Postpartum women, who train their body, without taking the changes into account, may do more damage to their body than good.

Thus, it takes time for the body to get back in shape.

Knowledge about one’s own body after a pregnancy and birth is thus crucial for the postpartum women.

Women of the childbearing age use IT on a daily basis.

IT combined with nudging may therefore be a way to assist and motivate postpartum women to a healthy lifestyle and weight control.

Nudging can be explained as “a gentle push in the right direction”.

This leads to the question: How might we assist and motivate postpartum women, by using nudging and IT, to a healthy lifestyle and weight control?