GSBS Student Publications


The impact of sleep, stress, and depression on postpartum weight retention: A systematic review

Student Author(s)

Rui Sherry Xiao; Aimee Kroll-Desrosiers

GSBS Program

Clinical & Population Health Research

Publication Date


UMMS Affiliation

Department of Quantitative Health Sciences; Department of Medicine, Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine; UMass Worcester Prevention Research Center

Document Type



Behavior and Behavior Mechanisms | Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Health Psychology | Mental and Social Health | Mental Disorders | Women's Health



To review the impact of sleep, stress, and/or depression on postpartum weight retention.


We searched three electronic databases, PubMed, ISI Web of Science, and PsycInfo. Studies were included if they were published between January 1990 and September 2013 in English, measured sleep, stress, and/or depression in the postpartum period, and assessed the association of these factors with postpartum weight retention. Two reviewers reviewed included articles and rated study quality using a modified version of the Downs and Black scale.


Thirteen studies met our pre-defined eligibility criteria, reporting on 9 study samples. Two were cross-sectional studies and eleven were longitudinal studies. The study sample size ranged from 74 to 37,127. All four studies examining short sleep duration and postpartum weight retention reported a positive association. The four studies examining postpartum stress and weight retention reported non-significant associations only. Of 7 studies examining postpartum depression and weight retention, 3 reported non-significant associations, and 4 reported positive associations.


Research investigating the impact of postpartum sleep, stress, depression on weight retention is limited. Future longitudinal studies are needed.


UMCCTS funding

DOI of Published Version



Xiao, R. S., Kroll-Desrosiers, A. R., Goldberg, R. J., Pagoto, S. L., Person, S. D., and Waring, M. E. (2014). The Impact of Sleep, Stress, and Depression on Postpartum Weight Retention: A Systematic Review. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 77(5), 351–358. doi:10.1016/j.jpsychores.2014.09.016

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of Psychosomatic Research

Related Resources

Link to article in PubMed

PubMed ID