Weight concerns in women smokers during pregnancy and postpartum.
When women smokers become pregnant, they are asked to control weight gain and at the same time to relinquish an addictive drug with weight suppressing effects. For women with serious body image concerns or a history of unhealthful eating patterns, smoking cessation may be particularly problematic. To investigate the relationship of weight concerns with smoking and weight gain during pregnancy and postpartum weight loss strategies, we conducted a retrospective study of women who had given birth to their first child within the past 10 years and were smokers when they became pregnant. We observed that women smokers with high weight and body image concerns (HC) gained significantly more weight during pregnancy-in amounts that far exceeded maximum recommended weight gain-than did women with low concerns (LC). HC were more likely to adopt smoking as a weight-control strategy and to be receptive to multiple weight-control strategies. Although they lost significantly more weight in the first month postpartum than did LC, they had also gained significantly more during pregnancy; the net result was that weight loss as a percentage of weight gained did not differ significantly between groups. HC were significantly less likely to experience food cravings in the first trimester and marginally less likely to vomit than LC. We conclude that early identification of high-risk women, coordination of prenatal care with smoking cessation counseling, and development of effective relapse prevention strategies that specifically address weight issues both during and after pregnancy will be needed if efforts to reduce smoking during pregnancy and postpartum are to be optimized.
Pomerleau, CS; Brouwer, RJ; Jones, LT
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