Postpartum changes in body composition

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Abstract

Parity is associated with weight retention and has long-lasting and detrimental effects on the health of women. Previous studies have shown that increasing parity was independently associated with an increased prevalence of metabolic syndrome. Postpartum weight is made up of several components including uterine and mammary tissues, body water (intracellular (ICW) and extracellular water (ECW)), and fat. These components change in variable amounts postpartum, thereby distinctly affecting the interpretation of individual weight retention; however, it is unclear which components contribute to weight retention. The aims of this longitudinal study were to evaluate changes in body composition during the postpartum period and to investigate their effects on weight retention. This prospective study examined 41 healthy, pregnant women who gave birth at Korea University Guro Hospital. We measured body composition at 2 days, 2 weeks, and 6 weeks postpartum using bioelectrical impedance analysis. Weight decreased during this postpartum period (P 0.001); the postpartum weight retention from prepregnancy to 6 weeks postpartum was 4.43 4.0 kg. Among various body composition components, ECW, ICW, total body water, and fat-free mass (FFM) decreased postpartum. However, fat mass (FM) and visceral fat area, the components that experienced the greatest changes, increased postpartum. Our results demonstrate that the postpartum period is associated with a preferential accumulation of adipose tissue in the visceral compartment, even though overall body weight is decreased. Further studies are needed to evaluate the changes in body composition over longer time periods and their long-term effects on health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2425-2428
Number of pages4
JournalObesity
Volume19
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Dec 1

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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