One of the most common concerns that new mothers have in the post-partum period is how to get back to their pre-pregnancy weight. For most women, incorporating a daily exercise routine plus preparing healthy meals is a very difficult task with a newborn.
On average, 10-12 pounds are lost immediately after delivery and another 5 pounds is lost a week after. The rest of the weight that is normally gained during pregnancy will gradually fall off over the post-partum months. However, the issue is when women gain a little (or a lot of) extra weight, which is well beyond the expected gain!
Here are some suggestions to help you get started.
It’s pretty well accepted that “breast is best” for the baby, but it’s also important to remember the positive effects that breast feeding has on the mother. In addition to promoting bonding and providing nutrients for the baby, breast feeding can actually help you lose weight! Weight loss can occur since you are losing calories through breastfeeding and your body is working harder to produce breast milk.
Allow your body some time to recovery after the birthing experience and be patient
Pregnancy and childbirth are both physically and mentally exhausting. Make sure to get as much rest as possible immediately after giving birth in order to recharge your body a bit.
Don’t compare yourself to other women
Comparing ourselves to others is something we do all the time. Due to hormonal and other physiologic changes that come with pregnancy, different women will have differing degrees of weight gain and different rates of weight loss. You can’t compare yourself to the woman who gained only 15 lbs and lost it all after giving birth!
Seek professional help
Start prepping before you give birth. Talk to your ND, midwife, OB/GYN, etc regularly to see if you are gaining a healthy amount of weight. If you are gaining a considerable amount of extra weight (or not enough weight), you/your baby will be at risk of developing certain perinatal conditions so it is very important to have regular check ups. If you are not losing your pregnancy weight after delivery as expected, you will also want to make sure your body functioning optimally (ie your hormones, thyroid, other aspects of metabolism). It’s also important to make sure you aren’t taking potentially harmful weight loss supplements while breast feeding as they may get transferred to your baby.
Ask for help from friends and family
This can be done in different ways. Have friends or family that say they will babysit anytime? Hold them to it to get a little “me time,” even if it’s just for a 20 minute run, a nap, a bath, etc. Have a mother/mother-in-law that wants to cook? Ask for healthier meal options and snacks.
If you have any specific questions about perinatal weight management, contact us!