Healthy Eating and Lifestyle in Pregnancy

Lead investigator
Dr. Sharon Simpson

Around one in five women attending antenatal care in the UK is obese and this figure is likely to increase. Pregnancy is a key time of change in women’s lives, when intervening on diet and physical activity could have a long-term impact on mother, child and family.

Obesity and excess weight gain during pregnancy is linked generally to poor health and also to complications during pregnancy and birth, affecting both mother and baby. This has a significant impact on the NHS, with costs of antenatal care between five- and 16-fold higher in overweight and obese women compared to women of normal weight.

Aims & objectives
To assess whether a weight management intervention for obese pregnant women, which targets physical activity and healthy eating, is effective in reducing women’s BMI at 12 months from giving birth, and at what cost.
Study design

Cluster randomised controlled trial.

  • This study will take place at 20 antenatal clinics in England and Wales. These sites will be randomised, ten to the intervention group and ten to the control group. 570 women will be recruited. These women will be 18 years and older, up to 20 weeks gestation and with a BMI of >30.
  • Women in the intervention group will attend a weekly 1.5-hour specialist weight management and physical activity support group run jointly by ‘Slimming World’ and midwives. Women in the control group will receive usual care and a leaflet giving advice on diet and physical activity.
  • BMI is the primary outcome. Other outcomes include: pregnancy weight gain, quality of life, child weight centile, diet, physical activity, pregnancy and birth complications, psychological outcomes and health service costs.
  • Information will be collected from the women at five time points: when the women are recruited (baseline), 36 weeks gestation, six weeks postpartum, six months postpartum and one year postpartum.
Further information & publications
Start date
January 2010
End date
January 2013
Trial register number