Integrating Obstetrical Care and WIC Nutritional Services to Address Maternal Obesity and Postpartum Weight Retention

Susan M. Gross*, Marycatherine Augustyn, Janice L. Henderson, Khrysta Baig, Christie A. Williams, Bolanle Ajao, Patricia Bell-Waddy, David M. Paige

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Objective: This pilot study evaluated a cost neutral, integrated Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women Infants and Children (WIC) and obstetrical service model designed to prevent postpartum weight retention in obese women. Methods: A sample of women who received benefits from the Johns Hopkins (JH) WIC program and prenatal care from the JH Nutrition in Pregnancy Clinic, which provides obstetrical care for women with a BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2, participated in the WICNIP randomized clinical trial. Intervention participants received enhanced nutrition services and education at five visits and during one phone call between delivery and 6 months postpartum. Control participants received standard WIC services. Weight data was collected for all participants at multiple time points: pre-pregnancy, delivery, and postpartum at 4, 6 weeks, 4, and 6 months. Maternal socio-demographic factors, obesity class and the number of education contacts received were also recorded. Results: Fifty-three African-American women were randomized into the intervention and control groups. Intervention participants retained significantly less gestational weight gain than control participants (3.0 ± 11.8 vs. 12.6 ± 20.4, p < 0.05). In both groups, participants with Class III obesity retained significantly less weight than participants in Classes I and II (p = 0.02). Conclusions for Practice: An integrated WIC and obstetrical service model is feasible and can limit postpartum weight retention in obese women. Weight retention at 6 months postpartum between intervention and control participants was statistically significant. Further research should explore targeted interventions by obesity class to address weight retention for low-income, African American women who participate in WIC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)794-802
Number of pages9
JournalMaternal and Child Health Journal
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Gestational weight gain
  • Nutrition
  • Obesity
  • Postpartum weight retention
  • WIC


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