Today’s member profile comes from Dr. Helena Piccinini-Vallis MD PhD CCFP FCFP, Associate Professor and Clinician Researcher at the Department of Family Medicine, and Cross-appointment with Obstetrics and Gynecology, Interim Research Director, Department of Family Medicine at the Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada Dr. Piccinini-Vallis sits on the Executive Science Committee, and Chair the Reproductive Years; Preconception, Prenatal and Postpartum Family Health Committee. 

I am an Associate Professor and Interim Research Director in the Department of Family Medicine at Dalhousie University. My interdisciplinary research interest pertains to weight gain in pregnancy.

Gestational weight gain is normal and expected. However, a high percentage of pregnant women gain excess weight, and this is an independent risk factor for several adverse short- and long-term outcomes for both mothers and babies. Excess gestational weight gain is also associated with downstream childhood obesity, perpetuating the intergenerational cycle of obesity.

My research aims to gain a deeper understanding of excess gestational weight gain from women’s and prenatal care providers’ perspectives, and to further our understanding as to why certain groups of women gain far more weight than others. I use qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods research designs to undertake my work.