Influence of the 5A's Counseling Strategy on Weight Gain during Pregnancy: An Observational Study

Katie O. Washington Cole, Kimberly A. Gudzune, Sara N. Bleich, Wendy L. Bennett, Lawrence J. Cheskin, Janice L. Henderson, Laura E. Caulfield, Yue Guan, Debra L. Roter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background: Healthy weight gain during pregnancy may improve health outcomes for women and infants. The objective of this study was to examine providers' use of the 5A's (Assess, Advise, Agree, Assist, and Arrange) in discussions of weight, nutrition, and physical activity during prenatal visits and evaluate the effect of this approach on gestational weight gain. Materials and Methods: We studied audio recordings of prenatal visits between 22 obstetrics providers and 120 of their patients, coding visits for providers' use of the 5A's. The relationship between the 5A's and gestational weight gain (total weight gain and excess gestational weight gain) was evaluated using multilevel models to account for patient clustering within provider, and adjusted for prepregnancy body mass index, parent study intervention assignment, gestational age at the study visit, and study visit length. Results: Overall, 55% of prenatal visits included any weight-related behavioral counseling. Of these, 59.1% included one of the 5A's and 40.9% included two or more of the 5A's. Counseling conversations most commonly included Assess or Advise (49% and 85% of counseling conversations, respectively). No recorded visits used all 5A's. In adjusted analyses, patients who received counseling with two or more of the 5A's gained an average of 11.8 fewer pounds than patients who received no counseling (p = 0.001). The odds of excess gestational weight gain were lower among women receiving counseling with at least one of the 5A's (p < 0.05). Conclusions: The 5A's were associated with lower gestational weight gain and may be a promising counseling strategy to promote healthy weight gain during pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1123-1130
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Women's Health
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2017


  • diet
  • exercise
  • obstetrics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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