Jane Brown told delegates at the Royal College of Midwives Conference of the importance of balancing mother's expectations and value of weight-loss to ensure effective dieting during pregnancy.
As part of a session focussed on putting research at the heart of practice, the PhD student from Ulster University explained why midwives need to focus on the motivational impact of their antenatal advice to the 38,000 obese women who give birth every week in the UK.
Brown said: "The motivation of pregnant women to lose weight is based on a combination of their desire to do so and the belief that they genuinely can. As such the role of the midwife in helping strike this balance is crucial."
From her study of first time mothers from Ulster Hospital in Dundonald, Brown identified that while the majority of women did place a very high value on maintaining a 'healthy' weight during pregnancy and did appreciate a good level of midwife support, these were often undermined by very low expectations.
She revealed that 75% of mothers surveyed said they found nutrition during pregnancy "very confusing", highlighting a key area to ensure midwives help inform effectively so that "value=expectancy".
In the same session, the Department of Health's lead for Midwifery 2020, suggested that the creation of the Clinical Academic Training Pathway was "a stairway to midwifery heaven".
Ronan McCandish added: "Compassionate care really needs clinical leadership so it's important we encourage the clinical academic midwife who maintains their 'frontline feel' while still improving their practice."
This was further exemplified by Addenbrooke's Trust midwife Anne Marie Winstone's revelation that less than 2% of midwives feel confident talking to women about their antenatal alcohol intake.
She added that it was "shocking" midwives didn't receive more training to identify fetal alcohol spectrum disorder given its potential impact on infant wellbeing.
For more from the RCM Annual Conference follow @journalfhc on Twitter with #rcmconf
Posted 14/11/2012 by firstname.lastname@example.org