Maternal and Child Health Journal

, Volume 19, Issue 4, pp 917–925 | Cite as

Developmental Trajectories of Postpartum Weight 3 Years After Birth: Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study

  • Dawit S. Abebe
  • Tilmann Von Soest
  • Ann Von Holle
  • Stephanie C. Zerwas
  • Leila Torgersen
  • Cynthia M. Bulik


This study explored the developmental trajectories of postpartum weight from 0.5 to 3 years after childbirth, and aimed to determine the associations between postpartum weight trajectories and prepregnancy body mass index and adequacy of gestational weight gain (GWG). Data from the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort study were used, following 49,528 mothers 0.5, 1.5, and 3 years after childbirth. Analyses were performed using latent growth mixture modeling. Three groups of developmental trajectories of postpartum weight were found, with most women (85.9 %) having a low level of weight retention initially and slight gain over 3 years, whereas 5.6 % of women started at a high postpartum weight retention (on average 7.56 kg) at 0.5 years but followed by a marked weight loss over time (2.63 kg per year on average), and the third trajectory represented women (8.5 %) who had high weight retention high initially (on average 4.67 kg at 0.5 years) and increasing weight over time (1.43 kg per year on average). Prepregnancy overweight and obesity and excessive GWG significantly predicted a high postpartum weight trend. Women had substantial variability in postpartum weight development—both initially after birth and in their weight trajectories over time. Early preventive interventions may be designed to assist women with prepregnancy overweight and obesity and excessive GWG, which helps to reduce the increasing trend for postpartum weight.


Postpartum weight MoBa Developmental trajectory Prepregnancy BMI Gestational weight gain 



We are grateful to all the participating families in Norway who take part in this ongoing cohort study. This research analysis was funded by the Research Council of Norway (Grant No. 196226V50). Dr. Zerwas is supported by the CTSA (UL1RR025747), the NIH Building Interdisciplinary Careers in Women’s Health Award (K12-HD01441), and K01MH100435. MoBa was funded by Norwegian Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education and Research, NIH/NIEHS (Contract No. N01-ES-75558) and NIH/NINDS (Grant No. 1 UO1 NS 047537-01 and Grant No. 2 UO1 NS 047537-06A1).

Conflict of interest

Dr. Bulik is a consultant for Shire Pharmaceuticals and an author for Walker Books and Pearson.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dawit S. Abebe
    • 1
    • 2
  • Tilmann Von Soest
    • 1
    • 3
    • 4
  • Ann Von Holle
    • 2
  • Stephanie C. Zerwas
    • 2
  • Leila Torgersen
    • 3
  • Cynthia M. Bulik
    • 2
    • 5
    • 6
  1. 1.Norwegian Social Research (NOVA)OsloNorway
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  3. 3.Division of Mental HealthNorwegian Institute of Public HealthOsloNorway
  4. 4.Department of PsychologyUniversity of OsloOsloNorway
  5. 5.Department of NutritionUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  6. 6.Department of Medical Epidemiology and BiostatisticsKarolinska InstitutetStockholmSweden

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