METHODS: A prospective cohort study was conducted at baseline (after delivery), 2, 4 and 6 months postpartum. From 638 eligible mothers initially recruited, 420 completed until 6 months. Dependent variable was weight retention, defined as difference between weight at 6 months postpartum and pre-pregnancy weight, and weight retention ≥5kg was considered excessive. Independent variables included socio-demographic, history of pregnancy and delivery, lifestyle, practices and traditional postpartum practices.
RESULTS: Average age was 29.61±4.71years, majority (83.3%) were Malays, 58.8% (low education), 70.0% (employed), 65.2% (middle income family), 33.8% (primiparous) and 66.7% (normal/instrumental delivery). Average gestational weight gain was 12.90±5.18kg. Mean postpartum weight retention was 3.12±4.76kg, 33.8% retaining ≥5kg. Bivariable analysis showed low income, primiparity, gestational weight gain ≥12kg, less active physically, higher energy, protein, carbohydrate and fat intake in diet, never using hot stone compression and not continuing breastfeeding were significantly associated with higher 6 months postpartum weight retention. From multivariable linear regression analysis, less active physically, higher energy intake in diet, gestational weight gain ≥12kg, not continuing breastfeeding 6 months postpartum and never using hot stone compression could explain 55.1% variation in 6 months postpartum weight retention.
CONCLUSION: Women need to control gestational weight gain, remain physically active, reduce energy intake, breastfeed for at least 6 months and use hot stone compression to prevent high postpartum weight retention.