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Getting Back In Shape: How PostpartumMoms Can Shed Extra Pregnancy Pounds

Weight gain during pregnancy is vital for you and your baby’s long-term health.

However, many women gain more weight than recommended— around 48% exceed

the recommendations.

Gaining more pounds than what is advised can increase the weight you retain after

pregnancy and lead to a higher risk of obesity. You may also struggle to lose this extra

weight while caring for a newborn, and that could impact your well-being in the long

run. Here’s how postpartum moms can shed extra pregnancy pounds:

Image: Pexels

Pregnancy weight and postpartum weight loss

Pregnancy weight can result from many factors. Your body is making changes to help

the baby grow and develop healthily, and that naturally results in weight gain, which

is normal and even advisable at times. Besides accommodating your baby’s growth,

the extra weight is due to your body storing fat to aid breast milk production. You’ll

lose around 10 to 13 pounds of it after birth since you aren’t carrying the baby,

placenta, or amniotic fluid, and you’ll drop five pounds of water weight in the

following few days. After that, losing excess weight takes some time, depending on

the person and how much weight was gained during pregnancy.

Lifestyle changes can help postpartum moms shed pounds, but it isn’t always

easy. Postpartum weight retention can result from suboptimal lifestyle behaviors, such

as an imbalanced diet and lack of exercise. You may not have the time to cook healthy

meals or work out while caring for your baby. The stress of adapting to life with a

newborn can likewise take its toll on your weight due to the release of the hormone

cortisol, which causes you to crave high-calorie foods. It’s also harder to lose weight

after each pregnancy; you won’t bounce back as quickly as you did with your first

after your third child.

How to shed your pregnancy pounds

Postpartum moms should prioritize their health and safety during this critical period.

When it comes to motivation for weight loss, finding a sustainable approach is vital,

otherwise you may find it challenging to stick to your plan. Fad diets may promise a

quick fix, but they aren’t ideal for postpartum moms and may not result in permanent

weight loss. Rather than focus on calories or restriction, allow yourself to eat a

nutritious diet with foods from every food group to ensure you and your baby get the

best nutrients. A diet suited to your preferences and needs will be easier to adhere to

and let you eat the foods you love.

Having nutritional goals postpartum other than weight loss can further help with the

process. Instead of solely focusing on the scale, prioritize healing and recovery. Eat

anti-inflammatory foods like dark green vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats for

recovery, and consume fiber-rich foods like root vegetables, unprocessed grains, and

legumes for better bowel health. Staying hydrated is also essential for avoiding

headaches and dizziness and giving you enough energy for childcare. When you make

proper recovery a goal, you’ll find that weight loss can be a byproduct of these

healthy habits you develop for healing.

Weight loss after pregnancy can also depend on whether you breastfeed or not. Six

months of breastfeeding can result in a lower BMI and body weight even years after

giving birth. Of course, breastfeeding should not be done for the sole purpose of

losing weight, but knowing how it affects your body can help determine if you’re

eating sufficient food to support the process without gaining excess weight. Tracking

your food can further keep you mindful of your eating habits. You want to eat enough

that you don’t rapidly lose or gain pounds while breastfeeding. If you notice from

your patterns that you tend to overeat to compensate for lost energy or eat too little to

prevent packing on pounds, you can adjust your behavior to maintain a healthy


If you’re seeking more postpartum support, check out our private training services to

help you recover your body after birth.

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