Women’s Challenges with Postpartum Weight Loss
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- Montgomery, K.S., Bushee, T.D., Phillips, J.D. et al. Matern Child Health J (2011) 15: 1176. doi:10.1007/s10995-010-0681-9
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This study was designed to examine women’s experiences of weight loss during the postpartum period. Understanding women’s positive and negative experiences can assist health care providers to successfully intervene in helping women lose weight following pregnancy and avoid long-term weight gain and obesity development. Design: Phenomenology, according to Husserl’s perspective. Setting: Private location of the women’s choosing. Participants: Twenty-six women, who ranged in age from 25 to 35 years, and had given birth within the last 5 years, were interviewed regarding their experiences with postpartum weight loss. The majority of the sample was Caucasian. Interviews were transcribed and themes were identified from each of the interviews. Comparisons were made between interviews to identify common experiences between women. Data were analyzed according to the Giorgi method. The women in the study had a wide range of experiences. Themes that emerged from the interviews related to women’s challenges with return to prepregnancy weight. These included: time and motivation issues, the need for support, and weight and other struggles. This study provides a look inside the lives of women faced with the reality of losing weight after childbirth. Losing weight after delivery is multi-faceted and influenced by many factors. Interventions to assist women with weight loss should target the challenges described in this paper. When effective strategies are developed, education can be done during pregnancy to prepare for the postpartum period. Ultimately, future research efforts can help us to eliminate pregnancy as a risk factor for obesity in women.