Postprint version. Published in American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Volume 202, Issue 2, February 1, 2010, pages 135.e1-135.e8. Copyright © 2010 Elsevier. The definitive version is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajog.2009.06.008.
Excessive gestational weight gain has been shown to relate to high-postpartum weight retention and the development of overweight and obesity later in life. Because many women are concerned about the health of their babies during pregnancy and are in frequent contact with their healthcare providers, pregnancy may be an especially powerful "teachable moment" for the promotion of healthy eating and physical activity behaviors among women. Initial research suggests that helping women gain the recommended amount during pregnancy through healthy eating and physical activity could make a major contribution to the prevention of postpartum weight retention. However, more randomized controlled trials with larger sample sizes are needed to identify the most effective and disseminable intervention. Providers have the potential to prevent high postpartum weight retention and future obesity by monitoring weight gain during pregnancy and giving appropriate advice about recommended amounts of gestational weight gain.