Postpartum weight retention plays an important role in the pathway leading to obesity among women of childbearing age. The objective of this study was to examine predictors of moderate (1-10 pounds) and high (>10 pounds) postpartum weight retention using data from a prospective pregnancy cohort that followed women into the postpartum period; n = 688 and 550 women at 3 and 12 months, respectively. Analysis included descriptive statistics and predictive modeling using log-binomial techniques. The average weight retained at 3 and 12 months postpartum in this population was 9.4lb (s.d. = 11.4) and 5.7lb (s.d. = 13.2), respectively. At 3 months postpartum, prepregnancy weight, gestational weight gain, and hours slept during the night were associated with moderate or high weight retention, whereas having an infant hospitalized after going home and scoring in the upper 75th percentile of the Eating Attitudes Test (EAT) were associated only with high weight retention. At 12 months postpartum, prepregnancy weight, gestational weight gain, and maternal education were associated with moderate weight retention; and gestational weight gain, maternal age, race, employment status, and having an infant hospitalized at birth were associated with high weight retention. The results of this study illustrate the importance of prepregnancy weight and gestational weight gain in predicting postpartum weight retention. Furthermore, given the lack of successful intervention studies that exist to date to help women lose weight in the postpartum period, the results of this study may help to inform future interventions that focus on such aspects as hours of sleep, dealing with stress associated with a hospitalized infant, and nonclinical eating disorder symptomatology.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Nutrition and Dietetics