CAN is designed for pregnant women with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 25 and over. CAN focuses on supporting pregnant women to change their behaviour in relation to dietary intake and physical activity, through an eight-week service run by health improvement facilitators.
Women also have three appointments with the CAN midwife (before they commence, following completion of the service and six months after the birth of their baby).
CAN offers group, one-to-one and email sessions.
The CAN service is not about dieting or losing weight. CAN is based on making small but specific changes to eating and activity behaviour to help pregnant women maintain better control of their blood sugar levels, which also provides them with more energy.
Body Mass Index is a measure that uses a person’s height and weight to work out if their weight is healthy. Although many women who carry excess weight have no problems in pregnancy and deliver a healthy baby, a high BMI can contribute to a range of problems including miscarriage, gestational diabetes and high blood pressure. In addition, it may cause babies to be born with below or above average birth weight, which in turn can lead to health risks in childhood and later life.
During weeks 14 and 28 of pregnancy, participants will meet with a health improvement facilitator to develop their own unique eating and activity plan. The health improvement facilitator will then support them in making healthy lifestyle changes.
The women on the course will then be encouraged to attend eight, 60-minute, either weekly group sessions or one-to-one sessions.
We strongly encourage women to take part in the group sessions, which will be informal, as this is an opportunity to meet other pregnant women. However, we are aware that many women find it difficult to commit to a group due to time commitments and in that situation, we can schedule one-to-one sessions.
Women signing up to CAN can expect to:
Discuss different physical activities and nutrition topics – a chance to learn new information and skills and take part in interesting discussions and fun activities with their group/ health improvement facilitator.
Set weekly dietary goals – such as food swaps.
Explore recipe adaptation and healthier ways to prepare family meals
Women who attend CAN can expect to learn how to maintain a healthy diet and also find more out about food and the way the body absorbs and processes different food groups.
This can also be applied to keeping their whole family healthy.
All eligible women are contacted by the provider if they are known to midwifery services from GSTT (Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust) or KCH (King's College Hospital) and will be contacted by post and phone.
If you have not been offered CAN you can email the team, who will get back to you as soon as possible.
Professionals working with women who may be eligible, or women interested in the service themselves should email the CAN Midwife.
Sheila O’Connor - LEAP CAN Midwife