In Australia between 50 to 100% of women who are above the healthy weight range experience excess gestational weight gain. Clear links exist between postpartum weight retention following excess gestational weight gain and obesity, cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. This can also result in complications in subsequent pregnancies. With more than 300,000 Australian births yearly, this is a significant public health concern. 

Our team has demonstrated significant success in improving diet quality, physical activity levels, and reducing postpartum weight retention. However, a limitation of recent approaches is the heavy reliance on intensive support from providers which is costly and translates poorly to a public health setting. Furthermore, woman have told us that programs must also account for competing demands with a new baby and address or overcome access issues. These considerations have also been recognised in a recent systematic review that suggests exploring interventions that utilise modern technologies to increase program reach and engagement in this population group is required. 

This body of work will co-create a digital health solution to support healthy lifestyles in the postnatal period. We will work with women to identify nutrition and physical activity related topics of interest and to identify potential delivery strategies to inform the development of a postnatal digital health program.  

This research is funded by Mater Research Institute – UQ’s Outstanding Women’s Grant  

Project members

UQ School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences researchers involved in this project:

Associate Professor Shelley Wilkinson

Principal Research Fellow
School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences

Dr Jane Willcox

Honorary Senior Research Fellow
School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences