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Weight-Management Information Needs of Postpartum Women

Ohlendorf, Jennifer M. MS, RN; Weiss, Marianne E. DNSc, RN; Ryan, Polly PhD, RN, CNS-BC

MCN: The American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing: January/February 2012 - Volume 37 - Issue 1 - p 56–63
doi: 10.1097/NMC.0b013e31823851ee
Feature Article

Purpose To describe the weight loss information-seeking behaviors of postpartum women.

Study Design and Methods The study is part of a larger longitudinal descriptive study of factors associated with women's self-management of their gestational weight loss after birth. Participants answered questions about weight loss information they planned to access, had received, wished they had received, and desired sources of information. A total of 250 women were enrolled during the postpartum hospital stay; 179 completed a 4-month follow-up.

Results A large portion of the sample (53.3% of normal weight women, 79% of overweight women, and 81.4% obese women) identified plans to seek weight loss information, yet nearly 85% received no information from healthcare providers by 4 months postpartum. The most frequently reported desired information topics fell under the category of specific strategies to lose weight. The majority of women in the sample had access to online health information from home, work, or a library; however, more White women had this access than did Black or Hispanic women.

Clinical Implications Postpartum hospital nurses are in a unique position to provide high-quality information with strategies for managing postpartum loss of gestational weight. Provision of high-quality online or print information can provide the foundation for successful weight-management support for prevention of gestational weight retention and long-term maintenance of a healthy weight.

One thing we can count on: pregnant women want to lose the “baby weight.” How can we best help them do it?

Jennifer M. Ohlendorf is from Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI. She can be reached via e-mail at

Marianne E. Weiss is from Marquette University.

Polly Ryan is from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Froedtert Healthcare.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.