Examining the Effects of a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Intervention to Prevent Excessive Gestational Weight Gain in Obese Pregnant Women on Maternal and Infant Outcomes

Jeanne Alhusen, PhD, CRNP, RN
University of Virginia School of Nursing

Larry Maxwell, MD, COL (ret) USA
Inova Fairfax Women’s Hospital

Excessive gestational weight gain is associated with negative outcomes for women and their offspring. Despite guidelines for optimal gestational weight gain, nearly half of U.S. women gain in excess of the Institute of Medicine guidelines with overweight and obese women two to three times more likely to gain in excess. The impact of mindfulness techniques on difficult to treat conditions, such as obesity, has generated considerable research activity. Yet, our understanding of the benefits of mindful eating in pregnancy is largely unknown. Thus, our team will conduct a prospective pilot randomize controlled trial involving 60 obese, low-income pregnant women who will be randomized to a 10-week Mindfulness Based Pregnancy Eating Awareness Promoting Optimal Development (MB-PEAPOD) intervention with focused mindful eating content or treatment as usual.

We will examine the effect of MB-PEAPOD on maternal physical and mental health outcomes as well as maternal stress indices. We will also examine the effect of MB-PEAPOD on infant outcomes. Our goal is to elucidate the manner in which excessive gestational weight gain and stress influence pregnancy and infant outcomes.

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