UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Evidence-Based Eating Patterns and Behavior Changes to Limit Excessive Gestational Weight Gain: A Scoping Review Ketchum, Kiley; Jevitt, Cecilia


Background: International prenatal care guidelines set a standard for clinicians to discuss gestational weight gain with their patients along with the complications associated with prepregnancy obesity and excessive gestational weight gain. Clinicians often lack evidence-based eating, nutrition, and activity strategies to share with patients. Methods: This systematic review aimed to find eating patterns and behaviors that could be used safely during pregnancy to limit excessive gestational weight gain. PubMed, MEDLINE, and Web of Science were searched for research or systematic reviews performed in the United States or Canada and published in English from 2013 to 2023. Keyword search terms included weight, manage, behavior, strategy, strategies, gestational weight gain, and nutrition. Excluded research used pediatric or adolescent populations, restrictive diets, such as no carbohydrate or no fat diets, fasting, bariatric surgery, weight loss medications, private industry or profit-earning programs using food brands, or specific diet programs. Results: A total of 844 abstracts were retrieved, with 103 full-text studies reviewed. Behaviors had to be useful for maintaining a healthy gestational weight gain and had to be safe for use during pregnancy. Behaviors useful during pregnancy included meal planning, home meal preparation, portion control, using diets such as the Mediterranean diet, the low-glycemic index diet, and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet (DASH), regular physical activity, sleeping 6–7 h a night, mindful eating, intuitive eating, and regular seif-weighing. Conclusion: The evidence-based strategies outlined in this review are safe for use during pregnancy and can assist patients in avoiding excessive gestational weight gain while maintaining the nutrition needed for healthy fetal growth.

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


CC BY 4.0