HomeWellnessWomen's HealthWould a postnatal weight management program help women lose pregnancy weight?

Would a postnatal weight management program help women lose pregnancy weight?

A recent study evaluated the effectiveness of a postnatal weight management program after giving birth.

Being overweight is linked to many health problems, including diabetes and high blood pressure. This is especially important in pregnant women as this can lead to potential long-term health issues for mother and baby. Mothers who are overweight are also less likely to breastfeed, and their babies are more likely to be overweight in the future. Maintaining a healthy weight is beneficial for both the mother and their families. It allows them to be more active with their children, and it supports a healthy lifestyle within the household. Many mothers find it difficult to lose weight gained during pregnancy.

In a study published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. researchers aimed to determine if a weight management program would be feasible in future studies among postnatal women to assess clinical and cost-effectiveness. A total of 193 women were enrolled in the study. All women received standard maternal care, while only half were enrolled in the weight management program. Women had to be either overweight or obese. The program started 8-16 weeks after giving birth and lasted for 12 months. The weight management program included social support, goal setting, and encouraged a healthy diet and lifestyle.

After 12 months, the group attending the weight management program sessions had slightly more weight change. The more sessions a woman attended, the greater the benefit on weight outcomes. About half of the women did not attend sessions. Some stated issues such as opportunity, motivation, or they thought they did not have a weight problem. The researchers determined that the ability to recruit and attain overweight and obese postnatal women is feasible for future studies. However, they were unsuccessful at recruiting women who gained excessive weight during pregnancy.

Future studies will need to assess the health benefits, cost-effectiveness, and other potential benefits of a weight management program. Future studies should also address how best to support weight management by addressing the issues expressed by participants, including a longer duration of the study.

Written by Kayla Dillon, B.S.


Bick, D, et al. “Lifestyle Information and Commercial Weight Management Groups to Support Maternal Postnatal Weight Management and Positive Lifestyle Behaviour: The SWAN Feasibility Randomised Controlled Trial.” BJOG: An International Journal of obstetrics and Gynaecology. 5 Dec 2019.

“Commercial Weight Management Groups Could Support Women to Manage Their Weight After Giving Birth.” EurekAlert!, 6 Jan 2020. www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-01/uow-cwm010620.php.

Image by Vidmir Raic from Pixabay


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