Gestational Weight Gain Intervention Impacts Determinants of Healthy Eating and Exercise in Overweight/Obese Pregnant Women

Abigail M. Pauley, Emily Hohman, Jennifer S. Savage, Daniel E. Rivera, Penghong Guo, Krista S. Leonard, Danielle Symons Downs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


High gestational weight gain (GWG) in overweight/obese pregnant women increases maternal-fetal complications. We conducted a 6-week GWG intervention based on an energy balance model that includes theories of planned behavior (TPB) and self-regulation constructs to promote exercise and healthy eating motivation and behaviors. The purposes of this proof-of-concept feasibility study were to examine: (1) the energy balance model constructs over the intervention, and (2) pre-post intervention, weekly, and dose-response changes in study constructs. Methods. Overweight/obese pregnant women (N=17) were randomized to 1 of 6 conditions, increasing in intensity, and included varied combinations of components (exercise sessions, healthy eating demonstrations, etc.). Exercise and healthy eating TPB (attitude, subjective norm, perceived behavioral control, intention), and self-regulation (prospective, retrospective) constructs were collected weekly. Exercise behavior, energy intake, and GWG were collected daily. Results. We observed: (a) significant increases in exercise TPB constructs, healthy eating attitude (limit unhealthy foods), exercise/healthy eating retrospective self-regulation; (b) significant decrease in healthy eating subjective norm (limit unhealthy foods); (c) trending increases for healthy eating perceived behavioral control (limit unhealthy foods), healthy eating prospective self-regulation, and energy intake; (d) significantly higher active time, steps, and energy expenditure at W3 relative to other weeks; (e) no significant increase in GWG; and, (f) a dose response effect such that women in more intensive dosages had greater gains in exercise and healthy eating perceived behavioral control (eat healthy/limit unhealthy foods). Conclusion. Brief exposure to a theoretically-driven, GWG intervention resulted in changes to exercise and healthy eating TPB and self-regulation motivational determinants, no significant increase in GWG, and suggests intervention intensity can strengthen perceived ability to engage in exercise/healthy eating behaviors; offering initial proof-of-concept for the intervention to regulate GWG in overweight/obese pregnant women. Future research will test this intervention over the course of pregnancy to understand long-Term impact on maternal-fetal health outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6469170
JournalJournal of Obesity
StatePublished - 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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