Factors associated with postpartum weight retention in a Brazilian cohort

Fatores associados com retenção de peso pós-parto em um estudo de coorte brasileiro

Joana Zanotti Edison Capp Maria Celeste Osório Wender About the authors


To identify the factors associated with weight retention after pregnancy.


A cohort study was performed with 145 women receiving maternity care at a hospital in Caxias do Sul, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, aged 19 to 45 years, between weeks 38 and 42 of pregnancy. The patients were evaluated at one month, three months, and six months after delivery. Student's t-test or one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to compare groups, as indicated; correlations were assessed with Pearson's and Spearman's tests, as indicated; to identify and evaluate confounders independently associated with total weight loss, a multivariate linear regression analysis was performed and statistical significance was set at p≤0.05.


There was a significant positive association between total weight gain - and a negative association with physical exercise during pregnancy - with total weight loss. Higher parity, inter-pregnancy interval, calorie intake, pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI), weight gain related to pre-pregnancy BMI, presence and severity of depression, and lack of exclusive breastfeeding were directly associated with lower weight loss. Among nominal variables, level of education and marital status were significantly associated with total weight loss.


In the present study, lower weight retention in the postpartum period was associated with higher educational attainment and with being married. Normal or below-normal pre-pregnancy BMI, physical activity and adequate weight gain during pregnancy, lower parity, exclusive breastfeeding for a longer period, appropriate or low calorie intake, and absence of depression were also determinants of reduced weight retention.

Postpartum period; Obesity; Pregnancy; Risk factors

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