The influence of psychological factors on post-partum weight retention at 9 months

Joanne Phillips, Ross King, Helen Skouteris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives:Post-partum weight retention (PWR) has been identified as a critical pathway for long-term overweight and obesity. In recent years, psychological factors have been demonstrated to play a key role in contributing to and maintaining PWR.  Design: Therefore, the aim of this study was to explore the relationship between post-partum psychological distress and PWR at 9months, after controlling for maternal weight factors, sleep quality, sociocontextual influences, and maternal behaviours.  Method: Pregnant women (N=126) completed a series of questionnaires at multiple time points from early pregnancy until 9months post-partum.  Results: Hierarchical regression indicated that gestational weight gain, shorter duration (6months or less) of breastfeeding, and post-partum body dissatisfaction at 3 and 6months are associated with higher PWR at 9months; stress, depression, and anxiety had minimal influence.  Conclusion: Interventions aimed at preventing excessive PWR should specifically target the prevention of body dissatisfaction and excessive weight gain during pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)751-766
Number of pages16
JournalBritish Journal of Health Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • body dissatisfaction
  • depression
  • obesity
  • postpartum
  • pregnancy

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