For some women, that joyful time when a warm and snuggly newborn has finally arrived can be mixed with emotions about the changes in their own bodies, and many of these women have questions about how they will lose the weight they put on over the past nine-plus months.
Holding on to pregnancy weight can lead to serious health consequences down the road, putting moms at risk for chronic conditions like heart disease and diabetes. And losing the pregnancy weight is important not just for new moms, but for babies, too. Going into a future pregnancy at a higher weight can put both the mom and the developing baby at risk for medical complications, such as gestational diabetes and hypertension.
“Most women naturally lose much of the weight they gained in pregnancy without much effort,” And although it’s possible for women to lose all of their pregnancy weight without making major changes in their lives, the natural shift in women’s lifestyles that happens after they give birth certainly introduces new challenges.
“It’s not so much that women need to make major changes, but that they need to figure out how to fit in the healthy eating and activities they used to do,”
You had a baby! Now what?
After giving birth, the last thing that’s likely on a new mom’s mind is going on a diet. Of course, a woman will immediately lose some of the pregnancy weight simply by giving birth — namely, the weight of the baby, the placenta and the amniotic fluid. And over the next few weeks, a woman can also expect to lose the weight of the extra fluid in her body that built up during pregnancy. After the fluid is gone, what remains is the extra fat that the woman added during pregnancy.
The following list provides evidence-based tips to help you lose the extra pounds.
1. Be Realistic
Depending on how much weight you gained during pregnancy, it is realistic to expect that over one to two years you may lose around 10 pounds (4.5 kg). If you gained more weight, you may find you end up a few pounds heavier than you were pre-pregnancy.
Of course, with good diet and exercise, you should be able to achieve any level of weight loss that you desire.
While the amount of weight you lose after giving birth may vary, the most important thing is that you return to a healthy weight range. Weight loss after pregnancy can take time, and you may not go back to your pre-baby weight or a healthy weight straight away.
2. Don’t Crash Diet
Crash diets are very low-calorie diets that aim to make you lose a large amount of weight in the shortest amount of time possible. After delivering a baby, your body needs good nutrition to heal and recover. In addition, if you are breastfeeding, you require more calories than normal.
A low-calorie diet is likely to be lacking in important nutrients and will probably leave you feeling tired. This is the opposite of what you need when taking care of a newborn, and when you’re likely sleep deprived.
3. Breastfeeding helps to reduce weight
Breastfeeding has many benefits for both mother and baby, including:Provides nutrition: Breast milk contains all the nutrients a baby needs to grow and thrive in the first six months of life.
Reduces the size of the uterus: Breastfeeding helps the uterus contract and return to its normal size faster after birth.
Reduces the mother’s risk of disease: Women who breastfeed have lower risks of type 2 diabetes, breast cancer, ovarian cancer and postnatal depression.
Additionally, breastfeeding has been shown to support the mother’s weight loss.
4. Count Your Calories
Counting calories can help you work out how much you are eating and where any problem areas in your diet may be. Moreover, it can help you ensure you are getting enough calories to provide you with the energy and nutrition you need.
You can do this by keeping a food diary or even just taking pictures of your food as a reminder of what you have eaten. There are also many helpful mobile apps that allow you to track what you eat throughout the day.
Using these techniques can help you reduce your portion sizes and choose healthier foods, which helps with weight loss.
5. Eat Foods High in Fiber
Eating foods that are high in fiber has been shown to help with weight loss. Soluble fiber may also help you feel fuller for longer by slowing down digestion and reducing hunger hormone levels.
6. Choose Healthy Proteins
Including protein in your diet can boost metabolism, decrease appetite and reduce calorie intake. protein has a greater thermic effect than other nutrients. That means that the body uses more energy to digest it than other types of foods, which results in more calories burned. Healthy sources include lean meats, eggs, fish, legumes, nuts, seeds and dairy.
7. Stock up on Healthy Snacks
The foods you have around you can have a big effect on what you eat. By stocking up on healthy snacks like cut vegetables, nuts, fruit and yogurt, you can ensure you have something close at hand if you are feeling hungry.
Furthermore, just keeping fruit out on the counter has been associated with a lower body mass index (BMI) Likewise, having unhealthy foods out on the counter is associated with increased weight. Therefore, it is best to keep them out of the kitchen.
8. Avoid Added Sugar and Refined Carbs
Sugar and refined carbs are high in calories and usually low in nutrients. Accordingly, a high intake of added sugar and refined carbs is associated with an increase in weight, diabetes, heart disease and some cancers. Common sources of sugar include sugary drinks, fruit juice, any type of plain sugar, white flour, sweet spreads, cakes, biscuits, pastries and other baked goods.
When you’re choosing food at the grocery store, read the food labels. If sugar is one of the first ingredients on the list, that product is probably better to stay away from.
It is easy to reduce your sugar intake by avoiding processed foods and sticking to whole foods such as vegetables, legumes, fruits, meats, fish, eggs, nuts and yogurt.
9. Start Exercising
Cardio, such as walking, jogging, running, cycling and interval training, helps you burn calories and has numerous health benefits. Although exercise alone may not help you lose weight, it will if you combine it with good nutrition.
After delivery, your pelvic and stomach areas need time to heal, especially if you have had a cesarean section birth. How long postpartum you can safely start exercising depends on the mode of delivery, whether there were any complications, how fit you were before and during pregnancy and generally how you feel.
You may be able to start something gentle like pelvic floor exercises right away, whereas you should wait to take on more intense exercises until your body is fully healed and it is medically safe.
10. Drink Enough Water
Drinking enough water is vital for anyone trying to lose weight. Drinking water may also reduce your appetite and calorie intake.
For breastfeeding women, staying hydrated is particularly important to replace fluids lost through milk production. Aiming to drink at least (2–3 liters) of water per day is a good goal to assist with weight loss and keep hydrated, though some women who are breastfeeding or exercising a lot may need more.
11. Get Enough Sleep
A lack of sleep can negatively affect your weight. For new mothers, getting enough sleep can be a challenge. Strategies that may help include sleeping when your baby is sleeping and asking for help from family and friends.
12. Ask for Help
Being a new mother can be a daunting role and a lot of work. Sleep deprivation and stress can be overwhelming, and up to 15% of mothers also experience postnatal depression. While achieving a healthy weight after pregnancy is important, it shouldn’t add undue stress and anxiety. If you are feeling depressed or anxious, or you’re simply struggling to cope, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Ask friends and family for help around the house, preparing meals or taking care of the baby for a few hours to allow you to rest or get some exercise. If you need more help, your doctor, dietitian, family nurse or a psychologist can offer you support.
So, carrying some extra weight after pregnancy is very common. Nevertheless, getting back into a healthy weight range is beneficial for your health and any future pregnancies.
Being healthy will allow you to enjoy time with your baby and get the most out of being a new mom.
Disclaimer: This article contains general information only. It is not a substitute for the advice of a qualified medical practitioner. For any exclusive diet plan for any specific individual, consulting a qualified Nutritionist is recommended.