Weight gain after childbirth: A women’s health concern?
- Cite this article as:
- Walker, L.O. Ann Behav Med (1995) 17: 132. doi:10.1007/BF02895062
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Changes in health care delivery call for an integrative science of women’s health care. A neglected area of such a science is the interrelationship between childbearing and chronic health conditions, such as obesity. Recent increases in guidelines for gestational weight gain (GWG) have raised concerns that these guidelines may contribute inadvertently to later obesity in women. On average, existing research shows that pregnancy accounts for small gains in postpartal weight, especially if the effects of aging are considered. However, there is great variability in postpartal weight gain, and some women, especially minority women, are more vulnerable to excessive weight gains following childbirth. Although GWG is an important predictor of postpartal weight gain, psychosocial factors, such as personal health patterns and stress, also may potentially contribute to women’s weight gain after childbirth. Further research is needed to determine the impact of women’s psychosocial context on postpartal weight.