Parent and Clinician Perspectives on Sustained Behavior Change after a Prenatal Obesity Program: A Qualitative Study.
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<p><strong>BACKGROUND: </strong>Infants of obese women are at a high risk for development of obesity. Prenatal interventions targeting gestational weight gain among obese women have not demonstrated consistent benefits for infant growth trajectories.</p>
<p><strong>METHODS: </strong>To better understand why such programs may not influence infant growth, qualitative semi-structured interviews were conducted with 19 mothers who participated in a prenatal nutrition intervention for women with BMI 30 kg/m2 or greater, and with 19 clinicians (13 pediatric, 6 obstetrical). Interviews were transcribed and coded with themes emerging inductively from the data, using a grounded theory approach.</p>
<p><strong>RESULTS: </strong>Mothers were interviewed a mean of 18 months postpartum and reported successful postnatal maintenance of behaviors that were relevant to the family food environment (Theme 1). Ambivalence around the importance of postnatal behavior maintenance (Theme 2) and enhanced postnatal healthcare (Theme 3) emerged as explanations for the failure of prenatal interventions to influence child growth. Mothers acknowledged their importance as role models for their children's behavior, but they often believed that body habitus was beyond their control. Though mothers attributed prenatal behavior change, in part, to additional support during pregnancy, clinicians had hesitations about providing children of obese parents with additional services postnatally. Both mothers and clinicians perceived a lack of interest or concern about infant growth during pediatric visits (Theme 4).</p>
<p><strong>CONCLUSIONS: </strong>Prenatal interventions may better influence childhood growth if paired with improved communication regarding long-term modifiable risks for children. The healthcare community should clarify a package of enhanced preventive services for children with increased risk of developing obesity.</p>