Trajectory of weight changes in the first 6 weeks postpartum

Lorraine O. Walker, Bobbie Sue Sterling, Minseong Kim, Kristopher L. Arheart, Gayle M. Timmerman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine the trajectory of postpartum weight changes and to examine associations between weight change in the first 6 weeks postpartum and demographic, clinical, psychosocial, and behavioral variables. Design: Prospective, longitudinal design. Setting: Community hospital and university research setting. Participants: 26 low-income women (9 White, 8 Black, and 9 Hispanic) with uncomplicated term pregnancies. Main Outcome Measure: Body mass index measured weekly. Results: Among White women, body mass index decreased significantly for the first 3 weeks of the postpartum period. Black women experienced a ignificant reduction in body mass index for only the first 2 postpartum weeks. Similarly, the postpartum body mass index decreased for the first 2 weeks for Hispanic women. Prepregnancy body mass index and gestational weight gain each had a significant positive effect on postpartum body mass index. Perception of social support at 4 weeks had a significant positive effect on postpartum body mass index in Black women. Conclusions: The trajectory of weight change was nonlinear with large initial weight losses during the first 2 to 3 weeks postpartum followed by weight plateaus for the remainder of the first 6 weeks postpartum.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)472-481
Number of pages10
JournalJOGNN - Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, and Neonatal Nursing
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2006


  • Black
  • Hispanic
  • Postpartum
  • Weight

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Medicine(all)


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