The prevalence of obesity in women continues to rise and pregnancy is a high-risk time for excessive weight gain. The period after childbirth represents an opportunity to offer women support to manage their weight. The primary aim here was to investigate the acceptability and feasibility of delivering a self-management intervention to postnatal women to support weight loss, embedded within the national child immunisation programme.
The research involved a randomised controlled cluster feasibility trial. Data were collected at baseline and 3 months later. Twenty-eight postnatal women living with overweight or obesity were recruited via Birmingham Women Hospital or general practices. Babies are routinely immunised at 2, 3 and 4 months of age; the intervention was embedded within these appointments. The intervention involved brief motivation/support by practice nurses to encourage participants to make healthier lifestyle choices through self-monitoring of weight and signposting to an online weight management programme, when they attended their practice to have their child immunised. The role of the nurse was to provide external accountability for weight loss. Participants were asked to weigh themselves weekly and record this on a record card or using the online programme. The weight goal was for participants to lose 0.5 to 1 kg per week. Usual care received a healthy lifestyle leaflet. The primary outcome was the feasibility of a phase III trial to test the subsequent effectiveness of the intervention, as assessed against three stop-go traffic light criteria (recruitment, adherence to regular self-weighing and registration with an online weight management programme).
The traffic light stop-go criteria results were red for recruitment (28/80, 35% of target), amber for registration with the online weight loss programme (9/16, 56%) and green for adherence to weekly self-weighing (10/16, 63%). Nurses delivered the intervention with high fidelity.
Whilst participants and nurses followed the trial protocol well and adherence to self-weighing was acceptable, recruitment was challenging and there is scope to improve engagement with the online weight management programme component of the intervention.
ISRCTN 12209332. Registration date is 04/12/18.
- primary care
- randomised feasibility trial
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Pharmacology (medical)