Why regularly weighing pregnant patients is important

Asking mums-to-be to step on the scales delivers weight-related positives

An Australian hospital's bid to encourage staff to weigh pregnant patients regularly has had a healthy effect on gestational weight gain.


Researchers from Mater Health in Queensland wanted mums-to-be weighed at every visit — something that was only happening for 4% of their antenatal patients.

Through some simple interventions, such as ensuring there were weighing scales in each antenatal room and providing staff training, they managed to up the proportion of women weighed at every visit to 19%.

But the big breakthrough came when the hospital altered its computerised e-health records system to remove the default that skipped the input of weight information.

This resulted in 62% of women having their weight measured at every antenatal visit, the authors reported in BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth.

The interventions also brought important benefits to some of the pregnant women involved, with the proportion experiencing gestational weight gain within recommended limits as set down by the US Institute of Medicine guidelines increasing from 23% to 39%.

Meanwhile, the number of women with excessive gestational weight gain dropped from 57% to 33%.

Other research had shown that “women like and expect to be weighed if it is performed in a respectful manner”, the authors wrote, adding that the goal was for every woman to be weighed at every visit.

This could be achieved by addressing staff anxieties about weighing women, they said.

More information: BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth 2019.