Limiting Postpartum Weight Retention in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Women: Secondary Analysis of the HeLP-her Randomized Controlled Trial

Nutrients. 2022 Jul 21;14(14):2988. doi: 10.3390/nu14142988.


Postpartum weight retention (PPWR) contributes to maternal obesity development and is more pronounced in culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) women. Our antenatal healthy lifestyle intervention (HeLP-her) demonstrated efficacy in reducing PPWR in non-Australian-born CALD women compared with Australian-born women. In this secondary analysis, we aimed to examine differences in the intervention effect on behavioral and psychosocial outcomes between Australian-born and non-Australian-born women and explore factors associated with the differential intervention effect on PPWR. Pregnant women at risk of gestational diabetes (Australian-born n = 86, non-Australian-born n = 142) were randomized to intervention (four lifestyle sessions) or control (standard antenatal care). PPWR was defined as the difference in measured weight between 6 weeks postpartum and baseline (12-15 weeks gestation). Behavioral (self-weighing, physical activity (pedometer), diet (fat-related dietary habits questionnaire), self-perceived behavior changes), and psychosocial (weight control confidence, exercise self-efficacy, eating self-efficacy) outcomes were examined by country of birth. Multivariable linear regression analysis was conducted to assess factors associated with PPWR. The intervention significantly increased self-weighing, eating self-efficacy, and self-perceived changes to diet and physical activity at 6 weeks postpartum in non-Australian-born women, compared with no significant changes observed among Australian-born women. Intervention allocation and decreased intake of snack foods were predictors of lower PPWR in non-Australian-born women. Results indicate that the HeLP-her intervention improved dietary behaviors, contributing to the reduction of PPWR in CALD women. Future translations could prioritize targeting diet while developing more effective strategies to increase exercise engagement during pregnancy in this population.

Keywords: ethnicity; lifestyle intervention; postpartum weight retention; pregnancy.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Diet
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Gestational Weight Gain*
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Postpartum Period
  • Pregnancy