Pregnancy Weight Gain & Loss

If you are a new mom, there might be a thousand things to take care of. From taking care of a newborn to adjusting to the new life to dealing with postpartum changes, there can be a lot to deal with. One more thing that can be added to the list is losing that pregnancy weight. In fact, you must return to your pre-pregnancy weight about a year after giving birth. About half of it comes off in just a month, the rest can be shed by diet, exercising, and even breastfeeding. Before we look at ways to lose that baby weight, let us first understand it a little better.

A Little Bit About Baby Weight

When you are pregnant with one child, you gain somewhere between 11.5 to 16 kilograms, as per the US Centers For Disease Control And Prevention (CDC). The weight gain can be more or less depending on whether you are underweight, overweight, or are carrying multiple babies. This weight comprises the weight of the baby, the placenta, amniotic fluid, increased size of the breasts, weight gain due to uterus enlargement, and fat. This fat is needed to give birth and breastfeed.

But many women gain more than the recommended weight. This excess weight is known as the baby weight, which needs to be shed, as it can increase your risk of developing gestational diabetes, pregnancy-related complications, diabetes after childbirth, and cardiovascular diseases.

Diet Tips To Lose Weight After Delivery

One of the ways to lose pregnancy-induced weight gain is to watch your diet. Here are some of the tips that might help:

  • Crash dieting is the worst thing you can do to your body just after delivering the baby. As the name suggests, in a crash diet, you limit your calorie intake so much that your weight comes crashing diet. However, this kind of diet lacks vital nutrients. Also, since you are breastfeeding, you need to eat enough. Also, limiting your calorie intake excessively can bring your energy down, which is the opposite of what you need since now you have to take care of your newborn. 
  • Never skip any meals. This might be difficult as with the added responsibility of a new human, you might ignore taking care of yourself. But skipping your meals will not only lead to a drop in your energy levels but will also slow your metabolic rate down, making it difficult to lose weight.
  • Have a healthy breakfast. Even if you are not someone who enjoys this early-day meal, you shouldn’t skip this one. Not only will it give you an energy boost, but will keep you full for longer helping you steer throughout the day.
  • Have lots of fruits and vegetables, along with whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats. 
  • While eating, it would be better if you focus only on eating. Try it, you’ll feel you got full sooner. When you sit down for a meal and focus on just eating, you are less likely to overeat, thus preventing you from filling up on some extra calories. 
  • While going for a snack, it is easier to reach out for a bag of potato chips or a bowl of ice cream. These make you feel happy in the short term and also help you with the cravings. However, these calorie-dense processed foods are extremely bad for your overall health and make you gain weight. Hence, it is better to switch on to healthier alternatives such as nuts, dried fruits, apple slices with peanuts, chickpeas, banana, or yogurt. These are rich in protein and fiber, which make you feel full for a long time.
  • It is better to limit your intake of salt and sugar. 
  • Controlling the portion size can help you limit your calorie intake, thus helping you with weight loss. 
  • Try to steer clear of sugar, refined carbs, and processed foods. Such foods include sugary sodas, cakes, pastries, ice creams, white flour, fast food, etc. 
  • Quit alcohol, as although some amount of wine can be good for the health, they fill you up with calories without providing any nutrition. Also, now that you are breastfeeding, alcohol might have some health implications on the child. 
  • It is extremely important to stay hydrated. Drink at least 8 glasses of fluids daily. However, at the same time, avoid fluids such as sodas, fruits juices, energy boosters, that are filled with added sugar. These empty calories serve no purpose and end up as fat on your body. 

Exercising Post Delivery

Having a healthy diet along with exercising is the easiest and healthiest way to lose weight  If you had no pregnancy-related complications and had a normal delivery, it is alright to start exercising a few days after giving birth. However, no matter how tempting it might be to pace up your workout game to shed those pounds, do start with something small. Just brisk walking for a couple of minutes might help you to build the pace. You can always build upon it later. However, it will be beneficial to consult an expert, who would chalk out an exercise plan for you. If you had a cesarean delivery, it will not be possible for you to exercise any time soon. In such a case, you must seek your doctor’s advice about what might work best for you. He/she might also be able to chalk out a plan for you to both lost weight and steering clear of any complications. 

If you are wondering what exercises you must do, here are the options for you:

  • Walking, because you should always start with something simple.
  • Stretching is another workout you can do, which will not only relax you but will also tone your muscles. 
  • Yoga is an amazing workout that will not only improve your mental health but can also help you lose that baby way effectively and in a healthy way.
  • Just like Yoga, pilates is a wonderful exercise option for new moms. 
  • For getting back to working out, starting with doing sit-ups might help you build the pace for more challenging exercises later on. 
  • You can also take up swimming for losing the pregnancy weight.

Tips For Breastfeeding Moms

Losing weight quickly while breastfeeding is not the ideal thing to do. In fact, it can make you produce less milk, which will deprive your baby of vital nutrients. It is generally recommended that breastfeeding moms should eat more than what a normal woman should consume. 

It is generally recommended to breastfeed your child for the first six months. Not only is it beneficial for the baby, but for the mother as well. It provides the baby with the requisite nutrition, it helps build the baby’s immune system, helps protect the baby from several diseases and infections, and reduces the mother’s risk of developing diabetes.

There is another good news here. Do you know that breastfeeding can also help you lose that baby weight? This is because while feeding your child the energy stored up as fat during pregnancy, along with that generated by food intake, are used up. In fact, it might even surprise you how much weight you can lose by breastfeeding.

Sleep Enough

You already know that this might be a challenge. Your little one, who might need you all the night, might keep you awake in the night, and in the day. This will not serve a blow to your energy level, but will also make you gain weight. Some studies show that a lack of sleep post-delivery can make you retain pregnancy-related weight. Also, when sleep-deprived you tend to be tired. And to make up for that, you consume more food to get yourself up and going. This excess food intake will end up as excess fat across your body. Hence, what might help is to get rest whenever you can when. Whenever the baby sleeps, you sleep. This will keep you energised once the baby is up, you’ll be able to take care of your newborn better and also shed some kilos.

Other than these, remember that you must set realistic weight loss goals for yourself. Your body went through a lot during those nine months, and it needs time to recover. Also, now you have an added responsibility for your child, which will end up taking a lot of your energy. It is extremely important to pay attention to your nutrition since your body is recovering and you are breastfeeding. Losing that weight in about a year is an achievable goal. Remember, being healthy is a lot more important than just being thin. At some point, you might feel lost or confused. In such instances, it is OK to seek advice and support. Other than your doctor, you can join certain weight loss groups. There are in-person as well as groups available online. These will not only keep your spirits up throughout your weight loss journey but will also make the whole process more efficient.