Objective: To determine weight gain during pregnancy and weight changes postpartum in first-time mothers delivering at or near term.
Methods: At about 2 weeks after delivery, 47 adult, Black and Hispanic women provided information on their prepregnancy weight and height and maximum pregnancy weight. Women reinterviewed at 2 and 6 months after delivery reported their most recent weight measurement and the date of that measurement. This information was used to compute each woman's prepregnancy body mass index, pregnancy weight gain, and weight loss postpartum. Information on infant feeding was also collected at each postpartum visit.
Results: About 2/3 of the women and 100% of the overweight and obese women gained excessive weight during pregnancy. Weight gain was most marked in women who started pregnancy overweight or obese. At 2 months postpartum, women were on average almost 18 lb above their prepregnancy weight. No additional maternal weight was lost by 6 months postpartum. Most infants were started on formula by 2 weeks of age. At 2 months of age, 85% were fed formula only and 91% of the infants were on WIC.
Conclusions: Our results demonstrate a need for interventions to help women avoid obesity by regulating their pregnancy weight gain, losing weight for a longer period postpartum, and initiating and maintaining exclusive breast-feeding.