Pregnant women in the Southern Health and Social Care Trust area are learning how to manage their weight as a result of a project being funded by the Public Health Agency (PHA).
The ‘Watching your Weight in Pregnancy’ project, being delivered by the Southern Health and Social Care Trust, got underway in December 2011 to address the rising levels of obesity across the southern area. It also aims to reduce the impact that obesity can have on the health of women and their unborn children during pregnancy and birth.
Two pilot programmes are currently underway in the Kilkeel area teaching both antenatal and post natal women that feeling good about yourself and your baby is important during pregnancy.
The programmes provide information about managing weight during and after pregnancy and include advice on good nutrition along with opportunities to take part in appropriate physical activities. As part of the project, there have also been training sessions for midwives in the Southern HSC Trust on healthier eating and physical activity during pregnancy.
Patricia McStay, Southern Trust Head of Midwifery, explained why there was a need for this project: “Every woman wants a healthy baby and we are supporting the women to improve their own health and wellbeing. We have been seeing increasing numbers of women who are overweight or obese at their first contact with the midwife. We want to support these women to manage their weight gain in pregnancy to reduce the risk of experiencing health complications such as high blood pressure, and diabetes in pregnancy.”
Angela McComb, Health and Social Wellbeing Improvement Manager, for the PHA, said: “The southern office of the PHA recognised the many risks associated with obesity in pregnancy, both to the mother and her baby, and allocated funding for this pilot project to test out ways in which these health risks can be reduced.
“We look forward to seeing the results of the evaluation which will inform the further development of effective approaches to support pregnant women to manage their weight both locally and across Northern Ireland.”
Contact the Public Health Agency on 028 9055 3663 or Southern Health and Social Care Trust on 028 3861 2433.