The effect of language preference on prenatal weight gain and postpartum weight retention in urban hispanic women

Barbara Hackley, Kristopher Fennie, Jo Applebaum, Diane Berry, Gail D.Eramo Melkus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To describe prenatal weight gain and postpartum loss patterns among Hispanic women receiving prenatal care at an urban community health center by language preference. Methods: Data were abstracted from medical records of prenatal patients seen from 2000-2008. Included were self-identified Hispanic women, English- or Spanish-speaking, aged 16-40 years, with weight measured at ≤13 and at >37 weeks gestation. Women with preexisting diabetes, hypertension, gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia, multiple gestation, or pretermdelivery were excluded. Bivariate (t-test, chi-square) and multivariate regression (linear, polychotomous logistic) statistics were used in the analysis. Results: Of 259 women who met eligibility criteria, 52 (20.1%) were primarily Spanish speakers. Overall, 43.6% exceeded prenatal weight gain recommendations; 30.8% of Spanish speakers vs 46.9% of English speakers (P=.07). Among normal-weight women, Spanish speakers gained below and English speakers gained above that recommended (P=.03). At late postpartum, 22.9% overall returned to their baseline body mass index (BMI ±0.5 kg/m2); Spanish speakers retained 1.21 vs 1.53 kg/m2 among English speakers, which was not statistically significant. Adjusting for baseline BMI, age, and smoking status, language preference was not associated with prenatal weight gain or postpartum weight retention. In adjusted models, being overweight at baseline was predictive of excessive prenatal weight gain (OR 2.12, 95%CI .99, 4.53; P=.05); older age was protective for postpartum weight retention (OR .90; 95% CI .82, .98; P=.02). Conclusions: Adherence to prenatal weight gain guidelines was poor and few women returned to their baseline weight at late postpartum, regardless of language preference.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)162-168
Number of pages7
JournalEthnicity and Disease
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2010


  • Acculturation
  • Hispanic Americans
  • Postpartum
  • Pregnancy
  • Weight gain
  • Weight loss

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology


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