Failure to lose pregnancy weight after birth may be lasting

August 6, 2002 in Pregnancy and Breastfeeding, Weight Management

Failure to lose pregnancy weight after birth may be lasting
Women who gain excess weight during pregnancy or fail to shed the pounds after birth are more likely to have those extra pounds stick around for many years, say American researchers from Wisconsin. Their study found that excessive weight gain and failure to lose that weight six months after pregnancy were predictors of long-term obesity.

In an initial study, the doctors followed 795 women from their first prenatal visit until 6 months after giving birth. All the pregnancies were uncomplicated. In the follow-up study, the researchers tracked down 540 of the women an average of 8.5 years later to assess factors associated with weight gain.

The researchers found that women who did not lose their pregnancy weight at their 6-month checkup or who had gained more than the recommended amount during pregnancy were more likely to gain the most weight in the long term. The Institute of Medicine advises women of a healthy weight to gain 25 to 35 pounds during pregnancy, while those who are overweight should gain 15 to 25 pounds.

Those who lost their pregnancy weight after six months were heavier by about 5 pounds at the 8-year follow-up, while women who did not lose their pregnancy weight gain by 6 months were 18 pounds heavier, at this time. What�s more, women who worked out aerobically and who breast-fed more than three months were more likely in the long term to have the smallest weight gain.

Women are advised to follow the weight-gain guidelines and attempt to lose pregnancy weight gradually, rather than immediately after pregnancy.

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