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Women Who Think They Can More Likely to Lose Weight Postpartum

By Senior News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on May 23, 2014

Women Who Think They Can More Likely to Lose Weight PostpartumNew research suggest having a positive mental opinion that one can return to everyday activities and exercise after childbirth influences how much weight a woman will retain years after childbirth.

In the study, Dr. James Pivarnik, a professor of kinesiology and epidemiology at Michigan State University, co-led an investigation that followed 56 women during pregnancy.

Researchers measured women’s physical activity levels, recorded perceived barriers to exercise, and documented if a women was able to overcome the impediments allowing prior levels of physical activity.

Six years later, the research team followed up with more than half of the participants and found that the women who considered themselves less able to take on these barriers had retained more of their pregnancy weight.

Top barriers identified in the study included time, motivation, and child care issues.

Researchers believe the findings will help health professionals better understand real and perceived physical activity obstacles for women after childbirth.

This knowledge will help new mother’s deal with negative perceptions while incorporating physical activity into their daily lives.

“The women who had difficulty believing they could overcome barriers that often occur in daily life or just thought they weren’t cut out for physical activity overall retained 11 to 13 more pounds of pregnancy weight later on,” Pivarnik said.

In contrast, the study revealed that those who showed higher levels of self-confidence had four to five times more physical activity during pregnancy and performed almost three times more activity six years later.

“We know that it’s beneficial for a woman to be active in some way during and after pregnancy so she can regain her fitness and help with weight loss,” Pivarnik said.

“But what can affect this is whether women think they can or can’t do it.”

Source: Michigan State University

 
Woman exercising photo by shutterstock.

 

APA Reference
Nauert, R. (2014). Women Who Think They Can More Likely to Lose Weight Postpartum. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 29, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/news/2014/05/23/women-who-think-they-can-more-likely-to-lose-weight-postpartum/70252.html