Psychosocial predictors of gestational weight gain and the role of mindfulness

Jeni Matthews, Jennifer Huberty, Jenn Leiferman, Matthew Buman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Objective To identify the psychosocial factors (i.e., stress, anxiety, depression, social support) that are associated with gestational weight gain (GWG) and the relationship of mindfulness with GWG during each trimester of pregnancy. Design In this cross-sectional study, an online survey that assessed physical and mental health and wellness practices was administered to pregnant women. Participants Pregnant women ≥8 weeks gestation, ≥18 years old, and could read and write in English. Measurement and findings Women who responded to the survey (N=1,073) were on average 28.7±4.6 years old. Findings from a regression analysis suggest that increased levels of depression may be predictive of increased GWG in the second trimester and decreased levels of mindfulness may be predictive of increased GWG in the first trimester. Anxiety, stress, and overall social support were not associated with GWG in any trimester. Key conclusions Mindfulness-based strategies (e.g., yoga) may have the potential to manage both depression and excessive GWG and may beneficial for and preferred by pregnant women. More research is warranted to determine clear relationships between psychosocial health, mindfulness, and GWG. Implications for practice Health care providers are encouraged to screen for depression in early pregnancy (i.e., first or second trimester) and provide resources to manage symptoms of depression and GWG to promote optimal birth outcomes. Health care providers may want to counsel patients on how to manage depression and/or GWG by suggesting mindfulness-based approaches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)86-93
Number of pages8
StatePublished - Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Depression
  • Mindfulness
  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Maternity and Midwifery


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