Impact of perinatal weight change on long-term obesity and obesity-related illnesses

Brenda L. Rooney, Charles W. Schauberger, Michelle A. Mathiason

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

235 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To estimate the impact of perinatal weight change on obesity, weight gain, and development of obesity-related illnesses 15 years after pregnancy. METHODS: Pregnancy-related factors and weights of 795 women were recorded at first prenatal visit and 6 months postpartum and were available through medical record review at 4, 10, and 15 years. Obesity-related illnesses were recorded 15 years later. RESULTS: A total of 484 (61%) original cohort members were available for follow-up. Weight gain during pregnancy, weight loss by 6 months postpartum, and baseline body mass index (BMI) were all related to current BMI and weight gain at follow-up. Women who breastfed beyond 12 weeks and participated in postpartum aerobic exercise had lower BMI and weight gain 15 years later. By follow-up, 13% had developed diabetes or prediabetes. Thirty percent had developed heart disease, hypertension, or dyslipidemia. Baseline BMI and weight change over 15 years were significant predictors of both diseases. Smoking status at last follow-up was also a significant predictor of heart disease or pre-heart disease. CONCLUSION: Excess pregnancy weight gain and failure to lose weight in an appreciable time are indicators of obesity in midlife. Excess weight gain and obesity status are predictors of diabetes and heart disease, although pregnancy-related weight changes alone are not directly related.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1349-1356
Number of pages8
JournalObstetrics and gynecology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2005


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