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
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:
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.