Public Health has worked together with partners from Maternity services to launch a maternal healthy lifestyle pilot – Blooming Healthy.
The service is offered to those who have a BMI of 30 or over in early pregnancy and would like support to make healthier lifestyle choices.
Studies have shown how excess weight surrounding pregnancy and following birth is strongly linked to obesity in later life, not only for the mother but for the child too. Making small changes towards a healthy lifestyle at this point could have lifelong positive impacts.
Prior to the service, there was no offer of support in Worcestershire specifically for pregnancy.
Those who enter the service receive one to one support from a Public Health Midwife. The initial appointment involves a lifestyle and motivation assessment, along with promotion of the benefits of making positive lifestyle changes, such as building activity into daily life and making small nutritional changes.
Support continues throughout pregnancy with regular check-ins either face-to-face or over the phone, and assessment is repeated in later pregnancy to measure outcomes.
In addition to physical activity and nutrition, the service supports and promotes mental health and wellbeing, infant feeding, pelvic health and oral health.
Between May and November 2023, 338 referrals have been received and around 50% of those accepted an appointment. Early data capture shows improved physical activity and dietary scores, along with positive qualitative feedback. One person said: “Better food planning has meant we have reduced our takeaways from 3 times/week to 1 every other week and saved us money!”.
Another said “this programme has helped me focus on changes I knew I needed to make”.
The first cohort of Blooming Healthy attendees are nearing the end of their pregnancy and will soon complete their end of pregnancy assessments.