Increased Visceral Adipose Tissue Without Weight Retention at 59 Weeks Postpartum

Isaiah Janumala, Tatiana Toro-Ramos, Elizabeth Widen, Barak Rosenn, Janet Crane, Michelle Horowitz, Susan Lin, Sonia Gidwani, Charles Paley, John C. Thornton, F. Xavier Pi-Sunyer, Dympna Gallagher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Objective: This study aimed to determine whether controlling maternal gestational weight gain (GWG) influences adipose tissue distribution at 1 year postpartum. Methods: Women with overweight or obesity (n = 210, BMI ≥ 25 or ≥ 30) were randomized to a lifestyle intervention (LI) designed to control GWG or to usual obstetrical care (UC). Measures included anthropometry, whole-body magnetic resonance imaging for visceral (VAT), intermuscular, and subcutaneous adipose tissue, and cardiometabolic risk factors in pregnancy (15 and 35 weeks) and after delivery (15 and 59 weeks). Results: Baseline (15 weeks) characteristics were similar (mean [SD]: age, 33.8 [4.3] years; weight, 81.9 [13.7] kg; BMI, 30.4 [4.5]; gestational age at randomization, 14.9 [0.8] weeks). LI had less GWG (1.79 kg; P = 0.003) and subcutaneous adipose tissue gain at 35 weeks gestation (P < 0.01). UC postpartum weight (2.92 kg) was higher at 15 weeks but not different from baseline or LI at 59 weeks postpartum. Postpartum VAT increased from baseline in LI by 0.23 kg at 15 weeks and 0.55 kg at 59 weeks; in UC, it increased by 0.34 kg at 15 and 59 weeks. Intermuscular adipose tissue remained elevated in LI (0.22 kg) at 59 weeks. VAT was associated with several cardiometabolic risk factors at 59 weeks. Conclusions: Despite no weight retention at 59 weeks postpartum, women had increased VAT by ~30%. Postpartum modifiable behaviors are warranted to lower the risk of VAT retention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)552-562
Number of pages11
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2020
Externally publishedYes


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