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How to Lose Weight After Pregnancy

Slow Weight Loss is Essential

Although having a baby is a wonderful experience for any woman, after enduring nine months of pregnancy symptoms, including 5-6 months of extra weight, it’s quite natural to want to normalize your weight and regain your pre-pregnancy shape as soon as possible. But don’t be too impatient. Life after giving birth typically throws up a new set of problems, which can cut across your plans to lose weight. So if you are a new mom, and you can’t wait to get back into shape, take my advice and “Go Easy!” Trying to lose weight too fast can rebound on you.

Forget About Celebrity Moms Who Lose Weight Instantly

Celebrities who give birth are surrounded by dietitians, nurses and fitness experts. Plus, they often have major commercial commitments to safeguard. So for these new moms, losing weight after pregnancy is often accomplished must faster than for more average women. They are not a good example upon which to base your own postpartum weight loss goals.

Eat Healthily and Give Your Body Time to Recover

It takes up to 6 months after pregnancy for your body to return to normal. So even if you are not breast-feeding, don’t be in too much of a hurry to cut calories. Apart from the physical trauma of giving birth, which itself can leave you feeling exhausted, looking after and being responsible for a new baby can be very stressful. It will require all your energy – especially as you get to grips with “night-feeds” and all the other demands of a new infant! So rather than focusing on “weight loss”, concentrate for the first three months or so after the birth on eating healthy food with enough calories and nutrients to give you the energy and nutrition to cope.

Exercise When You Feel Up to It

Exercising too vigorously, too soon, can be damaging to health. This doesn’t mean you need to be sedentary – on the contrary, you should be able to start gentle exercise almost immediately after returning home. But avoid any type of vigorous or sustained exercise until after your first post-pregnancy check-up. In exercise, as in the case of your diet, be guided by your doctor. He/she will explain the benefits of exercise – which include mood as well as physical benefits – and outline a suitable fitness program for you to follow. Incidentally, physical exercise in no way interferes with your ability to breast-feed.

Breast-Feeding

A new mom who breastfeeds her new born child produces an average output of 850ml of breast milk each day. To provide this, the mother needs to consume approximately 500 extra calories per day during lactation. (A little more, if you are underweight.) In addition, nursing a baby means you need extra nutrients, so make sure you follow your doctor’s or nurse’s advice about nutrition. See also: Breastfeeding, Diet and Weight Control

Weight Reduction For New Moms: When to Start?

After 2-3 months, when you feel your strength is returning and when your period has returned to normal, you can start following a healthy, weight loss diet, and taking more vigorous exercise. But don’t aim for fast weight loss, and be guided by your doctor. For optimum health, aim to lose no more than 1 pound per week, and continue to focus on eating nutritious foods.

How Long Will It Take to Lose Weight and Regain Your Shape?

How long it takes you to return to your pre-pregnancy weight and shape largely depends on how much weight you gained while pregnant. The average gain in weight during pregnancy is 25-35 pounds. During the birth, mothers typically lose 12-14 pounds, leaving a remainder of about 12-21 pounds of weight to be lost afterwards, which – allowing for a 3-month recovery period after giving birth – should easily be lost within 6-8 months. If you gained more than 35 pounds while pregnant, allow an extra month of dieting for each additional 6-pounds gained. Thus, for example, if you gained about 47 pounds, it will take you about 10 months to regain your pre-pregnancy weight. Don’t take these weight loss figures too literally. See them as a basic guide.

See also: Breastfeeding, Diet and Weight Control After Pregnancy

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