OBJECTIVE:The objective of this study was to evaluate weight-related risk perception in early pregnancy and to compare this perception between women commencing pregnancy healthy weight and overweight. STUDY DESIGN:Pregnant women (n=664) aged 29±5 (mean±s.d.) years were recruited from a metropolitan teaching hospital in Australia. A self-administered questionnaire was completed at around 16 weeks of gestation. Height measured at baseline and self-reported pre-pregnancy weight were used to calculate body mass index. Cross-sectional analysis was conducted.Differences between groups were assessed using chi-squared tests for categorical variables and t-tests or Mann-Whitney U tests for continuous variables depending on distribution. RESULT:Excess gestational weight gain (GWG) during pregnancy was more important in leading to health problems for women or their child compared with pre-pregnancy weight. Personal risk perception for complications was low for all women, although overweight women had slightly higher scores than healthy-weight women (2.4±1.0 vs 2.9±1.0; P<0.001). All women perceived their risk for complications to be below that of an average pregnant woman. CONCLUSION:Women should be informed of the risk associated with their pre-pregnancy weight (in the case of maternal overweight) and excess GWG. If efforts to raise risk awareness are to result in preventative action, this information needs to be accompanied by advice and appropriate support on how to reduce risk.