...information for health professionals

Pregnancy and postnatal

Slimming World is the only national weight management organisation in the UK to provide healthy lifestyle support to pregnant women and breast-feeding mums. Our aim is not to encourage weight loss or dieting during pregnancy but to support women in eating a healthy diet and prevent excess weight gain.

Slimming World encourages and helps women to lose weight before conceiving, supports members in eating healthily and remaining physically active during their pregnancy and encourages mothers to breastfeed and manage weight healthily following birth.

Current research

Pregnancy research study

Slimming World is currently undertaking a research study with the University of Cardiff. The project, called HELP (Healthy Eating and Lifestyle in Pregnancy) is looking at the benefits of adopting healthy eating and lifestyle habits throughout pregnancy to prevent excess weight gain. The benefits to both the mum’s health during pregnancy and birth, and the baby’s health will be examined as well as the longer-term impact of the adoption of healthier lifestyle habits on family health. Outcomes will include BMI, pregnancy weight gain, Quality of Life, mental health, child weight centile, pregnancy and birth complications, social support and health service costs.

This new study stems from a pilot project run with midwives at the University Hospital in Cardiff a few years ago. A Slimming World group was set up within the midwifery unit run by a Slimming World Consultant with a midwife on hand to provide additional pregnancy and breast-feeding support. The pilot project was successful in helping women control their weight and reduce the risks and extra healthcare resources associated with excess weight gain during pregnancy. The results of the pilot trial have been published in the British Journal of Midwifery. This pilot work led to the Cardiff research team being successful in obtaining extra funding to extend the work into a large-scale, Randomised Controlled Trial.

The new HELP study is one of the first and largest research projects to look at the benefits of healthy behaviour change and weight management support during pregnancy in the UK. We are running bespoke pregnancy groups in 10 hospital midwifery units throughout England and Wales where a Slimming World Consultant and midwife will work together to run the weekly groups for women throughout their pregnancy and six weeks after giving birth. The results from these special Slimming World groups will be compared with the current care provided to pregnant women in 10 hospital units acting as a control. The project is running throughout 2012-2014. The study protocol is published in the BMC Public Health and we will be reporting on the results in 2015.



John E , Cassidy DM , Playle R, Jewell K, Cohen D, Duncan D, Newcombe RG, Busse M, Owen-Jones E, Williams N, Longo M, Avery A and Simpson SA. 2014. Healthy eating and lifestyle in pregnancy: a protocol for a cluster randomised trial to evaluate the effectiveness of a weight management intervention in pregnancy. BMC Public Health. 14: 439

Jewell K, Avery A, Barber J. and Simpson S. 2014. The healthy eating and lifestyle in pregnancy feasibility study. British Journal of Midwifery 22(10):727-736

Avery, A., Allan, J., Lavin, J. and Pallister, C. 2010. Supporting post-natal women to lose weight. Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics.. 23(4): 439

Pallister, C., Allan, J., Lavin, J. and Avery, A. 2010. Changes in well-being, diet and activity habits of pregnant women attending a commercial weight management organisation. Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics. 23(4): 459