Download Full Text (1.7 MB)

Download SPH_CHHP_2014_Amusu_Field_Action_Report.pdf (671 KB)




Optimus, a Joint Commission accredited and a federally qualified healthcare center (FQHC), serves over 1200 pregnant women a year. Excessive Gestational Weight Gain (GWG) can lead to maternal health complications, including gestational diabetes, preeclampsia and increased risk for C-section. This study seeks to assess the prevalence and magnitude of GWG among Optimus clients, evaluate nutrition services available for pregnant women at Optimus, and identify approaches to enhancing pregnancy outcomes through optimum GWG that can be made available to Optimus clients.


Data on weight gain patterns, socio- demographic information, and health history for all pregnant women with clinic visits between 01/01/2013 and 12/31/2013 were extracted from the Optimus’ electronic medical records system. Trends in weight gain during each trimester were compared and analyzed by age, education, race/ethnicity, country of origin and language. Gaps in available nutrition services for pregnant women were determined through staff interviews and surveys.


Overall, the weight trends of the clients who used Optimus’ prenatal services in 2013 increased across the trimesters. There were no significant differences in weight gain between trimesters by all variables evaluated (age, education, race/ethnicity, country of origin and language). Teenage mothers had the lowest weights during each trimester of pregnancy while mothers with advanced maternal age had the highest average weights per trimester. On average, Black women had the highest weight from the first trimester and continued to do so throughout pregnancy. Women with only elementary or middle school education gained on average of 9.19lbs over the course of the three trimesters. This value is lower than the minimum that is recommended by the Institute of Medicine for any women in spite of their 3 BMI (11lbs). Results from the survey showed that Optimus’ staff consider cost, time and emotional barriers to be potential barriers to caring for pregnant women at Optimus.


Special educational nutrition services should be offered to women who represent the highest risk groups at Optimus (teenage mothers, mothers of advance maternal age, mothers with only middle school education or lower and also African American women). Optimus’ staff should account for cost, time and emotional barriers when designing nutritional and other support services for Optimus’ clients.

Publication Date

Spring 2014


Yale School of Public Health


New Haven, CT


Public Health

Optimus Health Care: Weight Gain Patterns and Nutritional Services Among Underserved Pregnant Women