after 6 weeks postpartum. The committee also recommends research to determine the most valid cutoff points.

The committee recommends the design and testing of culturally appropriate interventions to reduce maternal overweight after delivery or to prevent further gain.

Abnormal Postpartum Weight Change

Theoretically, the criterion abnormal postpartum weight change has the potential to identify a group of women who are at special and acute nutrition risk, especially when it is related to weight loss. However, there is no standard definition for abnormal postpartum weight change in either lactating or postpartum women. Weight loss that exceeds suggested rates of maternal weight loss consistent with adequate lactation has been proposed (IOM, 1991, 1992a).

Prevalence of and Factors Associated with Abnormal Postpartum Weight Change

Abnormal postpartum weight change has not been described in the literature; therefore, nothing is known about its epidemiology or factors associated with its occurrence.

Abnormal Postpartum Weight Change as an Indicator of Health and Nutrition Risk

A recent review concluded that if a woman has adequate fat reserves, it is probably safe to restrict energy intake moderately to enhance weight loss during lactation (Dewey and McCrory, 1994), and a subsequent study supports this view of no increased risk (Dusdieker et al., 1994).

Abnormal Postpartum Weight Change as an Indicator of Health and Nutrition Benefit

No studies have examined the possible health benefits of intervening for women with high rates of weight loss or gain after delivery. Common sense suggests that when a rapid weight loss or gain over a short period of time is observed in a postpartum woman, additional assessments of maternal health and psychological, social, and economic status are warranted to determine the cause and that the food and/or nutrition education provided by the WIC program can help remedy the problem.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001

Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement