Date of Conferral





Health Services


Bernice Kennedy


The management of obesity before a woman conceives is one of the most effective efforts a woman can take in decreasing her risk of obesity-related complications during pregnancy. Evidence supports the idea that maternal obesity influences maternal and fetal outcomes, leading to maternal and fetal morbidities. Physicians acknowledge the importance of screening women for obesity, but many do not refer patients for weight-loss therapy. In this study, the health belief model was used to explore the associations between participants' obesity risk of complications during pregnancy, the number of weight-loss interventions they attempted to implement prior to pregnancy, and how they viewed the success of their interventions. Participants were a random sample of 95 obese pregnant women older than 19 years participating in the supplemental WIC program in an urban community in Newark, New Jersey. A quantitative nonexperimental correlational study using descriptive and inferential statistics was used to analyze the data. The results of this study indicated that obese pregnant women did not perceive the risks associated with obesity as a problem, nor was there an association among the types of weight-loss methods attempted, the overall success of their weight-loss interventions, and ethnicity. Women who tried exercise and dietary restrictions or exercise only were more likely to experience success than those who tried other methods or combinations of methods (p = 0.012). The data provided can lead to better informed strategies by health care professionals to develop standards in healthcare, particularly obstetrics and gynecology offices and clinics, to help obese women be more compliant with treatment recommendations for reducing the risks of obesity-related health problems.