Caring for obese women - the midwife's toolkit

Jane Raymond introduces her program: 


Rates of overweight and obesity are increasing rapidly in Australia, and it is estimated that almost 60% of women of childbearing age are now overweight or obese (BMI≥25kg/m²). During pregnancy many women gain excessive weight that they find hard to lose afterwards, becoming progressively heavier throughout their childbearing years. Complications such as preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, caesarean section, haemorrhage, wound infection and breastfeeding difficulties can occur as a result, which impact not only on the woman and her family, but also on maternity services.

Pregnancy is a window of opportunity for talking with women about their weight, and about the importance of healthy eating, activity, and limiting weight gain. However, sometimes midwives may feel that these "healthy messages" fall on deaf ears, or may worry that they will damage the relationship with a woman.

This workshop is designed to equip midwives with the skills and knowledge to become more effective in helping overweight and obese women to adopt healthier lifestyles, by using motivational interviewing techniques. Motivational interviewing, or "Change Talk", uses a partnership approach to find out what is really important to an individual, and why, and encourages the creation of an effective plan of action.

Supported by a "toolkit" of evidence based information, midwives will find that antenatal visits will become more positive as they help women to explore their readiness for change and support their lifestyle choices with consistent and accurate information.


  • To identify the potential perinatal complications associated with overweight and obesity
  • To explore the experience of health care from the perspective of obese women, in order to illustrate the need for psychological support
  • To equip midwives with the information they need in relation to gestational weight gain and physical activity in the context of overweight and obesity
  • To introduce motivational interviewing techniques, and provide an opportunity to practice these through modelling activities
  • To provide evidence for best practice in regard to antenatal care for overweight and obese pregnant women

Learning Outcomes:

By the end of this program participants will be able to:

  • Identify maternal and fetal perinatal complications in relation to overweight and obesity
  • Discuss strategies for providing appropriate care to obese women throughout pregnancy
  • Articulate evidence-based information on healthy eating and activity during pregnancy in relation to overweight and obesity
  • Define the principles of motivational interviewing as a communication tool
  • Identify the stages of change
    • Understand the need for psychological support in relation to behaviour change
    • Demonstrate some of the wow it's great purchase viagra in uk skills and strategies involved in motivational interviewing in order to help women explore their readiness for change
    • Create a personal action plan in relation to communicating accurate and consistent lifestyle advice for obese women


Continuing Professional Development Points

Awarded 6 CPD points by the Australian College of Midwives.





Dates and locations:

At present there are no scheduled workshops on this theme.  If your hospital or area health service would like to sponsor a program on this topic for the benefit of you and your colleagues, please direct them to this link, which contains information on how to set up in-service courses through Birth International.