Effects of a lifestyle intervention on postpartum weight retention among women with elevated weight

Obesity (Silver Spring). 2022 Jul;30(7):1370-1379. doi: 10.1002/oby.23449. Epub 2022 Jun 20.


Objective: The effectiveness of a pregnancy and postpartum behavioral lifestyle intervention on postpartum weight retention was examined.

Methods: Pregnant women with overweight and obesity in South Carolina were recruited into a theory-based randomized controlled trial (n = 112 intervention, n = 107 standard care), which was designed to reduce gestational weight gain and postpartum weight retention.

Results: Participants (44% African American, 56% White) had a mean prepregnancy BMI of 32.3 kg/m2 and were at 12.6 weeks' gestation at baseline. From prepregnancy to 6 months post partum, intervention participants retained less weight than standard care women (mean difference: -3.6 kg, 95% CI: -5.5 to -1.8). The intervention effect was maintained at 12 months post partum (mean difference: -2.4 kg, 95% CI: -4.3 to -0.5). Intervention women had 2.3 times higher odds of having no weight retention at 6 months post partum versus standard care women (95% CI: 1.2 to 4.4). Intervention participants also had lower odds of retaining ≥5% of their prepregnancy weight after delivery (adjusted odds ratio: 0.3, 95% CI: 0.1 to 0.5 at 6 months; adjusted odds ratio: 0.3, 95% CI: 0.2 to 0.6 at 12 months).

Conclusion: This theory-based lifestyle intervention resulted in significantly less weight retention at 6 and 12 months after delivery among pregnant women with overweight and obesity.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02260518.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Body Mass Index
  • Female
  • Gestational Weight Gain*
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Obesity / therapy
  • Overweight / therapy
  • Postpartum Period
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications* / therapy

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT02260518