Excess pregnancy weight gain and long-term obesity: one decade later

Obstet Gynecol. 2002 Aug;100(2):245-52. doi: 10.1016/s0029-7844(02)02125-7.


Objective: To estimate the impact of excess pregnancy weight gain and failure to lose weight by 6 months postpartum on excess weight 8-10 years later.

Methods: Seven hundred ninety-five women were observed through pregnancy and 6 months postpartum to examine factors that affect weight loss. Weight was recorded 10 years later through a medical record review to examine the impact of retained weight on long-term obesity. Overall weight change at last follow-up and body mass index (BMI) were examined by pregnancy weight gain appropriateness according to the Institute of Medicine guidelines for weight gain during pregnancy.

Results: Of the original cohort, 540 women had a documented weight beyond 5 years (mean = 8.5 years). The average weight gain from prepregnancy to follow-up was 6.3 kg. There was no difference in weight gain by prepregnancy BMI. Women who gained less than the recommended amount during their pregnancy were 4.1 kg heavier at follow-up, those gaining the recommended amount were 6.5 kg heavier, and those gaining more than recommended were 8.4 kg heavier (P =.01). Women who lost all pregnancy weight by 6 months postpartum were 2.4 kg heavier at follow-up than women with retained weight, who weighed 8.3 kg more at follow-up (P =.01). Women who breast-fed and women who participated in aerobic exercise also had significantly lower weight gains.

Conclusion: Excess weight gain and failure to lose weight after pregnancy are important and identifiable predictors of long-term obesity. Breast-feeding and exercise may be beneficial to control long-term weight.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age of Onset
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Body Mass Index
  • Breast Feeding
  • Diet, Fat-Restricted
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Style*
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Obesity / etiology
  • Obesity / prevention & control
  • Postpartum Period*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Pregnancy*
  • Primary Prevention / methods*
  • Probability
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Time Factors
  • Weight Gain*