USPSTF Issues Recommendation on Interventions for Healthy Weight Gain During Pregnancy

The USPSTF has issued the organization's first recommendation on interventions for promoting healthy weight gain during pregnancy and also provided an overview of the evidence base used for the recommendation statement.

The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has issued a recommendation on counseling women about healthy weight and weight gain during pregnancy.

Published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the USPSTF recommendation statement advises clinicians to offer effective counseling programs to help pregnant people maintain a healthy amount of weight and prevent excess weight gain in pregnancy would provide a moderate net benefit to this patient population. The first time the USPSTF has made such a recommendation, it was awarded a grade of B, which indicates moderate certainty.

"Healthy weight gain during pregnancy lowers the risk for gestational diabetes, babies born with a high birth weight, and emergency cesarean sections,” said Task Force member Chien-Wen Tseng, MD, MPH, Professor and Research Director in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health at the University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine, in a statement from the USPSTF. “There are many effective counseling interventions that can help, so clinicians should work with their patients to identify the best fit.”

With the impact of obesity, gestational diabetes, and other comorbidities among pregnant woman defined in previous research, the USPSTF sought to provide guidance to clinicians in hopes of minimizing the detrimental of excess weight gain during pregnancy. In the statement published in JAMA, the Task Force detailed the importance of this new recommendation as well as additional details related to their rationale, assessments of potential harm and effectiveness, and supporting evidence for the recommendation.

Within the statement, the Task Force noted counseling intervention should focus on topics including nutrition, physical activity, and lifestyle or behavior changes. The statement advocated for multicomponent interventions, such as active/supervised exercise or counseling on diet and activity. The recommendation noted these interventions could be delivered using a collaborative approach to care that could include clinicians, dietitians, qualified fitness specialists, physiotherapists, and health coaches. The Task Force also pointed out these interventions could be delivered in individual or group settings as well as through traditional in-person or telehealth mediums.

This recommendation statement, titled “Behavioral Counseling Interventions for Healthy Weight and Weight Gain in Pregnancy US Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Statement,” was published in JAMA.