Prevention of unhealthy weight gain in families in pregnancy and postpartum using a mHealth-enhanced intervention.

Project Details


Aim: The overall objective is to prevent unhealthy weight gain and body composition during pregnancy and in the
postpartum period in vulnerable families. Specifically we aim: 1) To develop an intervention that is acceptable for
vulnerable families and feasible to use for midwives, 2) To evaluate the effectiveness of this intervention in the
prevention of unhealthy weight gain and psychological problems of the individual family members (mother,
father, child), 3) To assess determinants of unhealthy weight gain in mother, father, and child. Work plan: In the
development phase of the project, two existing interventions will be adapted and aligned. The first is a
smartphone-based intervention for overweight and obesity, and the second a lifestyle counselling intervention,
based on motivational interviewing. In addition, tools for the measurement of weight gain, body composition,
lifestyle behaviour, psychological factors will be developed. In the intervention phase, two trials studies will be
conducted (in Germany and Austria), to evaluate the effectiveness of the two adapted interventions, alone or
together, in the prevention of unhealthy weight gain. The target group consists of vulnerable families, and the
intervention addresses the lifestyle of both mother and father, and the interaction between parents and their child.
Expected impact: Our target group is hard to reach, is often burdened by multiple risk factors, and has the highest
risk of unhealthy weight gain in pregnancy and postpartum period. Also, their children have the highest risk of
becoming overweight or obese. Therefore, in this group most health benefits can be gained, and developing an
intervention strategy specifically designed for this target group is extremely relevant and important. The parents
receive support for developing positive parent-child interactions, which will have long-term beneficial effects for
the (weight) development of their children. The study adds knowledge on health development, acceptance and
impact of mHealth prevention strategies in our target population. To evaluate the interventions in two different
countries, with different prenatal and postnatal care systems, will provide essential information on the
effectiveness in different contexts, which is important for further improvement of the interventions, and lay
foundation for large-scale implementation efforts.
Effective start/end date1/04/2131/03/24

Flemish discipline codes

  • Family planning


  • Low SES
  • lifestyle counselling
  • mHealth
  • pregnancy
  • postpartum
  • families