Purpose: Pre-conception weight gain and postpartum weight retention may contribute to women's increased risk of developing overweight/obesity; however, weight history data that would permit an examination of this hypothesis have been lacking. Our objective was to describe the weight history of pregnant overweight women and their families.
Methods: Between 16 and 20 weeks of gestation, 107 overweight pregnant women (21 Aboriginal, including 20 First Nations and one Métis, and 86 non-Aboriginal) completed a weight history questionnaire.
Results: Average adult usual body weight (UBW) corresponded to a body mass index (BMI) of 29.2 +/- 5.5 kg/m2 (overweight). Average pre-pregnancy BMI (33.0 +/- 6.6 kg/m2) increased into the obesity category. Over two-thirds of subjects reported an unstable UBW. A large proportion of multiparous subjects had retained weight after pregnancy. The average weight retained was 12.7 +/- 9.4 kg, and it accounted for almost all of the weight change from UBW.
Conclusions: Weight history questionnaire results showed that pre-conception weight fluctuations and postpartum weight retention are significant problems for many overweight/obese women. Health care professionals can use this information for early prenatal through postpartum interventions designed to help overweight/obese women achieve an appropriate pregnancy weight and prevent sustained postpartum weight retention.