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Obstet Gynecol Surv. 2010 Oct;65(10):631-52. doi: 10.1097/OGX.0b013e3182077f64.

Effect of postpartum lifestyle interventions on weight loss, smoking cessation, and prevention of smoking relapse: a systematic review.

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  • 1Department of Public Health, Erasmus University Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.


Postpartum lifestyle interventions are recommended for women after pregnancies complicated by preeclampsia, intrauterine growth restriction, and/or gestational diabetes, since they are at increased cardiovascular risk. To identify potential intervention strategies to reduce this risk, a systematic review of the literature is presented on the effectiveness of postpartum lifestyle interventions aimed at weight loss, smoking cessation, and smoking relapse prevention. The main characteristics of these postpartum lifestyle interventions are briefly described. The PubMed, Embase, Web of Science, PsychInfo, and Cinahl databases were searched for studies on the effects of postpartum lifestyle interventions on weight loss, and smoking cessation or prevention of smoking relapse, initiated for up to 1 year postpartum. No studies on the effectiveness of postpartum lifestyle interventions after the aforementioned specific pregnancy complications were found. However, 21 studies are included that describe existing postpartum lifestyle interventions, which were applied to unselected (on the basis of pregnancy complications) postpartum women. Six of 8 weight loss interventions, 4 of 5 smoking cessation interventions, and 4 of 8 smoking relapse prevention interventions were effective. Individually tailored counseling, group counseling sessions, and use of diaries or other correspondence materials were shown to be effective. Currently, postpartum lifestyle interventions tailored specifically for women who experienced the pregnancy complications are lacking. While awaiting their development, it seems reasonable to utilize existing lifestyle interventions shown to be effective in unselected postpartum women.


After completion of this educational activity, the obstetrician/gynecologist should be better able to: counsel patients on how to apply existing postpartum lifestyle intervention strategies aimed at weight loss, smoking cessation, and smoking relapse prevention to lower future cardiovascular risk; and educate postpartum women who have experienced preeclampsia, intra-uterine growth restriction, and/or gestational diabetes about their increased cardiovascular risk later in life.


Obstetricians & Gynecologists, Family Physicians.

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