Postpartum weight change in relation to pre‐pregnancy weight and gestational weight gain in women in low‐income setting: Data from the kite cohort in the northern part of Ethiopia

Kebede Haile Misgina*, Henk Groen, Afework Mulugeta Bezabih, H. Marike Boezen, Eline M. van der Beek

*Corresponding author for this work

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(1) Background: Postpartum weight may increase compared to pre‐pregnancy due to weight retention or decrease due to weight loss. Both changes could pose deleterious effects on maternal health and subsequent pregnancy outcomes. Therefore, this study aimed to assess postpartum weight change and its associated factors. (2) Methods: A total of 585 women from the KIlte‐Awlaelo Tigray Ethiopia (KITE) cohort were included in the analysis. (3) Results: The mean pre‐pregnancy body mass index and weight gain during pregnancy were 19.7 kg/m2 and 10.8 kg, respectively. At 18 to 24 months postpartum, the weight change ranged from −3.2 to 5.5 kg (mean = 0.42 kg [SD = 1.5]). In addition, 17.8% of women shifted to normal weight and 5.1% to underweight compared to the pre‐pregnancy period. A unit increase in weight during pregnancy was associated with higher weight change (β = 0.56 kg, 95% CI [0.52, 0.60]) and increased probability to achieve normal weight (AOR = 1.65, 95% CI [1.37, 2.00]). Food insecurity (AOR = 5.26, 95% CI [1.68, 16.50]), however, was associated with a shift to underweight postpartum. Interestingly, high symptoms of distress (AOR = 0.13, 95% CI [0.03, 0.48]) also negatively impacted a change in weight category. (4) Conclusions: In low‐income settings such as northern Ethiopia, higher weight gain and better mental health during pregnancy may help women achieve a better nutritional status after pregnancy and before a possible subsequent pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number131
Number of pages15
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1-Jan-2022


  • Postpartum maternal nutrition
  • Postpartum weight change
  • Postpartum weight retention
  • Pre‐pregnancy weight and gestational weight gain

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