Maternal and Child Health Journal

, Volume 23, Issue 5, pp 578–584 | Cite as

A Feasibility Study to Promote Optimal Weight in First Time Pregnant Mothers and Their Babies: Lessons Learned in a US-Mexico Border Community

  • Christine B. WilliamsEmail author
  • D. Yvette LaCoursiere
  • Gregory A. Talavera
  • Sheila Gahagan
Brief Report


Introduction Obesity rates among US Hispanic women and children are high. Childhood obesity prevention beginning prenatally is desirable, but studies show mixed results. Methods We tested a pilot intervention to promote optimal gestational and infant weight with primigravid Hispanic women at a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) on the U.S.-Mexico border. The intervention included promotora-led exercise, nutrition, breastfeeding activities (n = 23), supported by text/social media messaging (text messaging prenatally, private Facebook page postnatally). Measures included demographics, BMI, weight gain/retention, infant feeding, and attendance. Results Most women were U.S. born (73%), Spanish-language dominant (83%), with ≤ high school education (65%), and overweight/obese (56%). Retention rates were modest for the prenatal component (50%), supported by an SMS text-messaging program. Retention of the remaining postnatal sample, supported by a private Facebook® page, was 100%. Of women who regularly attended group sessions pre and postpartum, over 70% were within 5 lbs of pre-pregnancy weight at 6 months postpartum. A private Facebook® group was feasible for out-of-class support, including among women with regular cross-border mobility. Discussion While the intervention was well-received, almost 2/3 of the original participants did not follow up postpartum. Importantly, the findings indicate the use of social media (private Facebook® page) was more feasible than the SMS text-messaging program and may be a successful approach to reach and engage women living in mobile and transnational settings. Future studies should examine social media as an intervention tool to influence optimal weight and encourage healthy behaviors in primigravidas living near the U.S.-Mexico border.


Hispanic Obesity Pregnancy U.S.-Mexico border Social media 



We gratefully acknowledge the study participants and their babies as well as our collaborators at the San Ysidro Health Center, the FQHC where this study took place, especially the study promotora, breastfeeding peer counselor, clinic provider and staff, and research department staff. Pilot funding was provided for this study by: UC San Diego Academic Senate Research Grant #’s RM077M and RL039H and UC San Diego Department of Pediatrics Division of Child Development and Community Health Pilot Grant # CDCH2011-1952-003.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christine B. Williams
    • 1
    Email author
  • D. Yvette LaCoursiere
    • 2
  • Gregory A. Talavera
    • 3
  • Sheila Gahagan
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PediatricsUniversity of California-San DiegoLa JollaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Reproductive MedicineUniversity of California-San DiegoLa JollaUSA
  3. 3.Institute for Behavioral and Community Health, Graduate School of Public HealthSan Diego State UniversitySan DiegoUSA

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