Document Type


Date of Original Version





Latinos are the largest and fastest-growing minority group in the U.S., and Latina women represent the largest portion of minority births, having the highest birth rate in the U.S. for over 20 years. In addition, Latina women are at increased risk of entering pregnancy being overweight or having obesity and gaining excess gestational weight. Excess gestational weight gain (GWG) has short- and long-term adverse health outcomes for the woman and her child. Although culturally tailored interventions show promise toward promoting healthy GWG among Latina women, findings from current interventions have had mixed results, suggesting the need for further tailoring to meet the needs of this heterogeneous population group. This qualitative study was designed to explore first-time pregnant, low-income Latina women’s beliefs, attitudes, and experiences with GWG. The study employed qualitative research using semi-structured interviews conducted with 23 first-time pregnant Latina women between 22 and 36 weeks of gestation. Interviews were conducted by trained bilingual staff, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed using thematic analysis. Results showed that participants were uncertain if their GWG was within a healthy range. Although the majority of participants knew that GWG should be limited, they were not sure what the amount should be. In addition, the majority of participants reported attitudes of acceptance of and resignation to excessive GWG as being part of pregnancy. Several women appeared to believe that they did not have control over their weight gain during pregnancy. Moreover, analysis identified that sociocultural and interpersonal factors such as social support influence the beliefs, attitudes, and experiences with GWG of the low-income, majority immigrant Latina women who participated in this study. Study findings can be used to further tailor prenatal care practices and interventions aimed at altering modifiable risk factors associated with excess GWG among Latinas. Future interventions designed for low-income, immigrant Latina women that consider sociocultural influences on women’s beliefs and attitudes related to GWG, as well as the influence of social support networks on women’s health behaviors during pregnancy, will likely be more effective in preventing excessive GWG.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.