Self-monitoring Lifestyle Behavior in Overweight and Obese Pregnant Women: Qualitative Findings

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


Background: Excessive maternal gestational weight gain increases pregnancy and infant complications. Self-monitoring has been shown to be an effective strategy in weight management. Literature, however, is limited in describing pregnant women's engagement in self-monitoring. Aim: This qualitative study explored the experiences of overweight and obese pregnant women who self-monitored their eating, walking, and weight as participants in an intervention for excessive gestational weight gain prevention. Methods: Thirteen overweight and obese pregnant women participated in semistructured interviews. Reflexive iteration data analysis was conducted. Findings: Five themes were identified: Making self-monitoring a habit, strategies for self-monitoring, barriers to self-monitoring, benefits of self-monitoring, and drawbacks of self-monitoring. The women viewed self-monitoring as a "habit" that could foster a sense of self-control and mindfulness. Visual or tracing aids were used to maintain the self-monitoring habit. Forgetting, defective tracking aids, complexities of food monitoring, and life events could impede self-monitoring. Being unable to keep up with self-monitoring or to achieve goals created stress. Conclusions: Self-monitoring is a promising approach to weight management for overweight and obese pregnant women. However, healthcare providers should be aware that, although women may identify several benefits to self-monitoring, for some women, consistently trying to track their behaviors is stressful.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-89
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Nurse Specialist
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2018


  • Excessive gestational weight gain
  • obesity
  • pregnancy
  • qualitative research
  • self-monitoring

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Leadership and Management
  • Assessment and Diagnosis
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing
  • LPN and LVN

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