Weight gain during pregnancy
The average weight gain during pregnancy is between 25 to 35 pounds. During the birth, new moms shed about 12.5 to 14 pounds, leaving about 12 to 21 pounds of excess weight to be lost during the postpartum period. In addition, some new moms may gain an extra 10-12 pounds during pregnancy, due to various medical conditions, in which case there will be more postpartum weight for them to lose in order to regain their pre-pregnancy figure.
Don’t rush out and start dieting after the birthIs it possible to lose weight and regain your figure after having a baby?
Yes, it is! Having a baby does not mean you have to be fat. Lots of new moms regain their pre-pregnancy figure within 8-12 months. True, it takes time for your body to get back to normal, but don’t despair. Eat properly, get active and let nature do the rest.
If you are not breast-feeding then don’t rush out and start dieting. Instead, for the first three months or so after the birth, concentrate on healthy eating, and develop your own exercise plan. Then, when your body has begun to recover and when your period has returned to normal, start following a healthy, low fat weight-loss plan and you will lose weight just as easily as the next person.
How long before you reach your pre-pregnancy weight
If your weight gain during pregnancy was no more than the recommended 22- 30 pounds, you should be able to return to your pre-pregnancy weight within about 8 months. This may sound slow, but you really can’t lose weight much faster and stay healthy at the same time.
Breastfeeding & weight loss during the postpartum period
Breastfeeding helps weight loss
Breastfeeding may assist you to lose weight, at least during the 12 months after giving birth. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, the process of breastfeeding releases a number of hormones into your body which helps your uterus to return to its pre-pregnancy size and shape.
However, don’t count on breast-feeding to improve your weight loss during the immediate postpartum period. Very often, it is only when the breast-feeding stops that the weight starts to come off.
In addition, don’t depend on breast-feeding for your weight loss. Otherwise you may get careless about your diet and instead of losing weight, you may actually gain weight. So be sure to eat sensibly, take exercise and allow nature to do the rest.
If you are breast-feeding there is no reason why you should not go on a healthy, low-fat weight loss diet, but you should not drop below about 1800 calories per day, while feeding.
Note: On a standard low fat diet, this may mean adding an extra 500 calories per day to the normal menu. This is roughly equivalent to 1 serving of dairy products, 1 serving of grain, 1 serving of fruit and 1 serving of green leafy vegetables.
Breastfeeding and dieting
Weight loss during the postpartum period is perfectly normal.
If you didn’t gain more than the recommended 22-30 pounds during pregnancy, you should be able to lose a comfortable 1 pound a week without any drop in milk quality or quantity. (Or up to 2 pounds if you gained more.)
However, as stated above, you must aim to consume about 1800 calories per day.
Don’t rely on junk food to make up your calorie-total. Make sure your food is nutritious.
As soon as you and your doctor feel the time is right, start exercising.
The Benefits of Exercise
The amount and quality of food you eat after giving birth has a big impact on your weight and health. The same applies to exercise, so long as you don’t overdo it (always consult your doctor before starting).
Exercise assists postpartum weight loss.
Exercise helps to minimize postpartum depression.
Exercise helps you to adapt to your new situation.
Exercise does not interfere with your ability to breast-feed. Breast milk is unaffected.
Weight loss guidelines for new moms
The fastest, most effective way to lose weight and regain your figure is to make it part of an overall program, involving diet, exercise and general lifestyle changes. Here are a few sensible guidelines.
Look after your body
Your body has just undergone enormous strain. In addition, your new arrival means you are going to need all the energy you can get. So make sure you eat properly and maintain your health.
The American Medical Association has stressed the importance of eating a diet that is nutritionally sound: i.e. a diet low in fat (not fat-free), nutrient-dense (i.e., full of vitamins and minerals) and high in fiber. This applies to all new moms, regardless of weight. The two biggest mistakes you can make is (a) Start eating junk food, or (b) Go on a crash diet. Either action is guaranteed to make you fat and unhealthy.
Find out about food
Contact your doctor or local clinic. Educate yourself about nutrition, rather than weight loss.
Develop a personal exercise plan. Think it through, before you start.
Ideally, recruit a partner, a friend or another new mom to exercise with you.
Aim to work towards a regular 30 minutes exercise, per day.
Set little goals, like 10-minutes of exercise each day, then gradually increase it.
The best time to start exercising is about 6 weeks after the birth.
Hollywood stars are often photographed working out within hours of the birth of their child. This is not healthy. Do not be tempted to copy them unless you do so under expert professional care.
Pay particular attention to strengthening the pelvic area.
Remember: exercise gives you more energy, not less.
Weight loss tips
Moms who set themselves realistic goals do much better than those who don’t.
Allow yourself 3 months before embarking on any strict weight reducing diet. Allow yourself at least 8 months to regain your pre-pregnancy weight. Under no circumstances try to starve yourself thinner. It’s guaranteed to fail.
Avoid all fad diets
Choose a low fat, healthy eating-plan.
- Get whatever help you can
Involve your partner or join a local support group