Putting on those extra pounds during pregnancy is considered normal, even necessary, for the growth of your baby. Although the level of weight gain varies depending on your pre-pregnancy body weight and BMI , all women are eager to lose whatever weight they may have put on during these nine months as soon as possible once the baby is born. However, there are a few things to consider before you go on a weight loss regime.
How much weight do you lose after giving birth
Most mothers expect to go back to their pre-pregnancy weight right after birth, but your baby alone does not account for the increased weight . However, with your baby having an average birth weight of 7-9 pounds, along with about 1 pound of the placenta, and few more pounds of amniotic fluid and blood, most women find themselves around 10-12 pounds lighter after delivery .
Losing weight after pregnancy: Your post-baby body
The nature and rate of weight loss after childbirth varies from one woman to another, often depending on their lifestyle, activity levels, diet habits as well as metabolism . Many new mothers are surprised to see that they look almost as pregnant as before, with a bulging belly, even after their baby is born. There are other factors responsible for this post-delivery body apart from the extra fat stored over these nine months, including excess fluids and an expanded uterus that needs time to come back to its previous, non-pregnant state.
Within a week, your body will start losing the fluids in the form of urine and perspiration. So, the symptoms of frequent urination , hot flashes and night sweats  are still going to be with you for a little longer.
The body after having a cesarean section or complicated birth
Women having had a c-section may need a little more time to regain their old fitness, as apart from pregnancy, they also need to recover from a major surgery . It is common to experience some swelling throughout the body due to the IV fluids administered during a c-sections delivery. This fluid is excreted from the body through urination and sweating along with the water weight .
When can you start dieting post pregnancy
The whole process of pregnancy and childbirth takes a toll on your body, and it needs time to recover. So, it is not advisable to start any vigorous exercise routine or weight loss diet until the first postpartum checkup, about 6 weeks after delivery . Breastfeeding mothers should not consider dieting for losing weight at least for 2 months after their baby’s arrival, as a low calorie diet around this time may interfere with the quality and amount of breast milk .
How to lose weight after having a baby
Post pregnancy diet
As mentioned above, going on a fad diet is never recommended to fight those extra post-baby calories . Your diet may not be the same as the previous nine months when you were eating to provide all the necessary nutrients for your baby’s growth. For example, your recommended calorie intake will not be as high as it was while carrying . However, even now what you eat will have an effect on your nursing baby through the production and quality of breast milk . Consult your doctor before deciding to follow any diet plan to make sure that you get all the necessary nutrients while shedding the unwanted fats. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Opting for high fiber foods, whole grains, monounsaturated fats, fresh fruits, and vegetables as these make you feel full for longer, preventing you from eating too frequently while providing all the necessary nutrients.
- Avoiding skipping meals as this only harms your body by keeping you from getting the required vitamins and minerals without actually aiding in weight loss.
- Eating smaller portions during a meal as this can help in long-term weight maintenance by preventing overeating.
- Including plenty of calcium-rich foods, like leafy green vegetables and low-fat dairy products to make sure your baby gets enough calcium without you suffering too much bone loss .
- Avoiding packaged fruit juices and sodas, opting for water whenever you feel thirsty
Earlier, new mothers were asked to wait for at least one and a half to two months before starting any exercise. However, at present experts consider it safe for a woman who has had a vaginal birth with no complications to start on a workout routine as soon as she feels well enough .
Whenever your doctor says it is safe to start, begin with light activities , like taking your baby out in his stroller, or taking a swim . Later, you can gradually move on to running, yoga and gym sessions.
Weight loss after c-section
Although regular exercise and a healthy diet are the best way to shed those extra pounds in those with a cesarean , it is usually advised to wait for two months or longer [7, 17] before starting heavy physical activities.
Things to keep in mind while exercising after pregnancy
- Walking is the safest and one of the most effective exercises for postpartum women. You can start with just a gentle, short walk, gradually increasing the time length over the weeks. Carrying your baby in a baby carrier may be a good idea as the extra weight can be beneficial for faster weight loss .
- Make sure never to exhaust yourself by pushing too far, your body still needs time to regain its pre-pregnancy energy .
- Exercising with your baby is a good option as it can benefit the both of you. But, it is advisable to practice the moves first with a rolled bed sheet or a doll to make sure there is no risk of dropping your baby in the process .
You can consult your doctor regarding the safety of using weight loss aid products like support girdle belts and post-baby support corsets that may help you get a toned belly faster. But, these products are not meant to replace a healthy diet or a workout schedule.
How long does it take to lose the baby weight
Normal weight women, whose weight gain over the pregnancy is within the recommended limits of 25 pounds to 35 pounds, may get back to their pre-pregnancy weight within 2-3 months from the time they start maintaining a proper diet and exercise routine . On the other hand, if you were overweight or obese before conception or if you gained more than what your doctor recommended, you might need up to a year (or longer) to lose the baby fat . However, it does not mean you need to stress yourself to maintain this timeline. Just like every pregnancy is different, so is the rate at which your body can get rid of the baby weight.
Average weight loss after pregnancy
Experts recommend shedding your baby weight gradually with the ideal weight to lose per week being around 1 to 2 pounds for women who are breastfeeding . Even those formula-feeding their babies should maintain the same weight loss routine as their body needs the same amount of time to recover . Losing too much weight within too short a period might mean that you are losing muscles instead of fat .
How does breastfeeding help to get in shape after baby
Your body burns up to 500 calories a day for producing breast milk, so you are a step closer to losing that extra weight every day as you nurse your baby . Breastfeeding can also help you to get a flatter belly by stimulating the release of certain hormones that accelerates the shrinking of your uterus .
Women with gestational diabetes are more at risk of developing diabetes after their baby is born. Losing the baby weight with lifestyle changes soon after delivery may considerably lower the risk by improving glucose metabolism .
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