The impact of group prenatal care on pregnancy and postpartum weight trajectories

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2015 Nov;213(5):688.e1-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2015.06.066. Epub 2015 Jul 9.


Objective: The objective of the study was to investigate whether group prenatal care (Centering Pregnancy Plus [CP+]) has an impact on pregnancy weight gain and postpartum weight loss trajectories and to determine whether prenatal depression and distress might moderate these trajectories.

Study design: This was a secondary analysis of a cluster-randomized trial of CP+ in 14 Community Health Centers and hospitals in New York City. Participants were pregnant women aged 14-21 years (n = 984). Medical record review and 4 structured interviews were conducted: in the second and third trimesters and 6 and 12 months postpartum. Longitudinal mixed modeling was utilized to evaluate the weight change trajectories in the control and intervention groups. Prenatal distress and depression were also assessed to examine their impact on weight change.

Results: There were no significant differences between the intervention and control groups in baseline demographics. Thirty-five percent of the participants were overweight or obese, and more than 50% had excessive weight gain by Institute of Medicine standards. CP+ was associated with improved weight trajectories compared with controls (P < .0001): women at clinical sites randomized to group prenatal care gained less weight during pregnancy and lost more weight postpartum. This effect was sustained among women who were categorized as obese based on prepregnancy body mass index (P < .01). Prenatal depression and distress were significantly associated with higher antepartum weight gain and postpartum weight retention. Women with the highest levels of depression and prenatal distress exhibited the greatest positive impact of group prenatal care on weight trajectories during pregnancy and through 12 months postpartum.

Conclusion: Group prenatal care has a significant impact on weight gain trajectories in pregnancy and postpartum. The intervention also appeared to mitigate the effects of depression and prenatal distress on antepartum weight gain and postpartum weight retention. Targeted efforts are needed during and after pregnancy to improve weight gain trajectories and overall health.

Trial registration: NCT00628771.

Keywords: excessive gestational weight gain; group prenatal care; postpartum weight loss.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Depression / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Care / organization & administration*
  • Social Support
  • Stress, Psychological / physiopathology
  • Weight Gain* / physiology
  • Weight Loss* / physiology
  • Young Adult

Associated data