What To Do After Pregnancy To Lose Weight


What To Do After Pregnancy To Lose Weight? After giving birth it does not take long for new moms to wonder how much weight they need to lose in order to be back in their pre-pregnancy weight. For your information, having a baby adds a pound or two of weight gain, but the pregnancy itself is not the main reason why new moms want to lose weight. The real issue is that they are back to their normal routine and eating habits and are not satisfied with the way their bodies look after pregnancy. They want to look good in their new dresses and jeans, so they’re looking for ways to lose weight fast after pregnancy.


What To Do After Pregnancy To Lose Weight

Having a new baby can be a joyful moment for a family, but for some women, that happiness may be overshadowed by the changes in their own bodies. Many of these women worry about how they will shed the weight they put on during the previous nine to more than nine months.

According to studies, many women seem to cling onto at least a few pounds after giving birth, and a quarter of them keep on at least 11 pounds (or 5 kilograms) a year later. According to Kathleen Rasmussen, a professor of maternal and child nutrition at Cornell University, a woman retains 2.5 to 5 pounds (1 to 2 kg) on average after giving birth. That might not seem like much, but the pounds can mount up if a woman has further children or puts on extra weight for other reasons, according to the expert.

Maintaining pregnancy weight can have negative long-term effects on health, increasing the risk of diabetes and heart disease for mothers. Additionally, it’s crucial to lose the pregnancy weight for both new mothers and their unborn children. Higher weight entering a future pregnancy can increase the chance of medical issues including gestational diabetes and hypertension for both the mother and the unborn child.

Live Science delved thoroughly into the facts, evaluating the top postpartum weight loss research and speaking with leading authorities to discover the best strategies for women who wish to lose the baby weight. In the end, we discovered that reducing weight after giving birth comes down to three key factors, beginning even before giving birth:


  • Weight gain during pregnancy (jump to section)
  • Diet and physical activity (jump to section)
  • Breast-feeding (jump to section)

The specialists we spoke with agreed that for women concerned about additional pregnancy weight, getting back to your pre-pregnancy weight is definitely feasible and should ultimately be your objective.

According to Dr. Emily Oken, a professor of community medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston, “most women spontaneously shed much of the weight they acquired in pregnancy without much effort.” And while it is possible for women to lose all of their pregnancy weight without substantially altering their lifestyles, the natural change in women’s lifestyles that occurs after giving birth undoubtedly brings with it new difficulties.

According to Oken, “[women] need to figure out how to fit in the good diet and activities they used to perform, not necessarily make huge adjustments.

Weight Gain During Pregnancy

Naturally, weight increase during pregnancy cannot be avoided. However, it’s crucial to comprehend how much weight you should put on, why your body is doing so, and how it affects what happens after the kid is born.

So how much weight should a pregnant woman gain? Her body mass index (BMI) before to becoming pregnant will determine everything. [Determine Your BMI]

Women who are underweight should aim to gain 28 to 40 lbs (12.7 to 18.1 kg), women with a normal BMI should aim to gain 25 to 35 lbs (11.3 to 15.9 kg), women who are overweight should aim to gain 15 to 25 lbs (6.8 to 11.3 kg), and women who are obese should aim to gain 11 to 20 lbs, according to the Institute of Medicine (IOM) (5.0 to 9.1 kg). (The required weight gain amounts are larger for twin-pregnant women.)

Despite the fact that a newborn kid doesn’t weigh that much, a weight gain of 25 to 35 pounds for someone with a normal BMI may seem excessive. However, those extra pounds do have a function. Pregnancy pounds are also caused by the placenta, enlarging breasts and uterus, and increased blood and fluid content in the mother’s body, as shown in the infographic below. Yes, additional fat does matter.

Additionally, the study notes that some research contend that putting on too much weight while pregnant raises the risk of giving birth through cesarean section. (While C-sections are typically thought to be safe, there are more hazards involved compared to vaginal births. For instance, a C-section is a significant surgical surgery, and having one for a first birth frequently results in recurrent C-sections for subsequent pregnancies.)

Reducing threats to the health of the unborn child is one of the main reasons, according to the IOM, why women should limit their weight increase during pregnancy. According to a 2015 analysis published in the journal Expert Review of Endocrinology & Metabolism, gaining too much weight during pregnancy raises the possibility that the baby will have a high birth weight, which can put the newborn at risk for obesity and metabolic syndrome during childhood. High blood pressure, a big waist circumference, and low levels of “good” cholesterol are all symptoms of metabolic syndrome.

Finally, the scientists noted that preeclampsia may also be linked to acquiring too much weight while pregnant. A pregnant woman may get preeclampsia, a dangerous complication that occurs when there is an excess of protein in the urine as well as high blood pressure. Both the mother and the child may be at risk as a result.

However, a woman’s weight growth throughout pregnancy shouldn’t be distributed equally among the three trimesters. During the first trimester, women are advised to gain between 1.1 and 4.4 pounds (0.5 to 2 kg), according to the IOM. Then, depending on their pre-pregnancy BMI, women are encouraged to gain 0.5 to 1 lb (0.23 to 0.45 kg) per week during both the second and third trimesters. The IOM recommends that during these trimesters, women who are underweight or normal weight gain 1 lb (0.27 kg) each week, whereas women who are overweight or obese should gain 0.6 lb (0.27 kg) per week and 0.5 lb per week, respectively.

However, a crucial thing for expectant mothers to remember is that the amount of weight gained during pregnancy is significantly correlated with the amount of weight lost following delivery.

What To Do After Pregnancy To Lose Weight

According to Dr. Jacinda Nicklas, an assistant professor of internal medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and the lead author of the 2015 review, weight growth during pregnancy is the single strongest predictor of postpartum weight retention.

Oken concurred. According to her, the main cause of postpartum weight retention is pregnancy weight gain. Women who gain during pregnancy within the acceptable range have less excess weight to shed and are more likely to return to their pre-pregnancy weight.

But despite the dangers of gaining too much weight while pregnant, 40 to 60 percent of women exceed the recommended amounts.

Experts advise against women “eating for two” in order to maintain healthy weight increase. According to Rasmussen, a woman requires “very much no more calories” during the first trimester. According to Rasmussen, who spoke to Live Science, “the body changes a lot right away in reaction to pregnancy [in the first trimester], but these changes don’t require a lot of calories.” Nevertheless, she claimed that the first trimester is when most of the “overgain” that women experience occurs.

Indeed, studies demonstrate that, contrary to suggestions that women gain the least amount of weight during the first trimester, this is frequently the trimester in which the most excessive weight gain (pounds gained beyond the acceptable amounts) happens.

Women shouldn’t put on more weight than a handful during the first trimester, according to Oken. And doing so might have unfavorable effects. It is becoming more and more obvious, she added, that excessive weight gain, even very early in pregnancy, might indicate eventual weight increase and [poor] heart health for both the mother and her unborn child.

Oken discovered that weight growth during the first trimester was more strongly connected with weight retention at seven years postpartum than weight gain during the second or third trimesters in a 2015 study that was published in The American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology. Pregnancy-related blood pressure levels were shown to be greater after excessive first-trimester weight increase than after excessive second- or third-trimester weight gain.

Unlike weight from the fetus, placenta, or extra fluid in the woman’s body (because these weigh very little at this point in the pregnancy), the excess weight gained above the required amount during the first trimester is predominantly fat, according to the study. The researchers found that this fat accumulation is probably more challenging to reduce after pregnancy than fluid or nonfat tissue. [Changes to the Body During Pregnancy]

It can be difficult to gain weight gradually throughout the first trimester, according to Oken. Women who experience the weariness that is so typical in the first trimester, for instance, may overeat; other women may experience nausea, which is made better by nibbling, she said.

Additionally, “in certain circumstances, women could conclude that since weight increase is typical during pregnancy, I don’t need to worry as much about what I eat,” said Oken. Doctors want to specifically inform these women about healthy weight increase during pregnancy, she continued. We need to spread the message in other ways, though, because “many women don’t visit their OBs [obstetricians] until the end of the first trimester,” according to Oken.

Oken advises women to concentrate on consuming nutrient-dense meals, such as fruit, dairy products, and nuts, and to particularly steer clear of “empty” calories or excess desserts in order to keep weight growth within the standards. Additionally, she advised pregnant women to try to avoid consuming their calories in sugar-sweetened beverages and to instead drink plenty of water, as the signs of thirst (such as weariness and irritability) can occasionally be confused with hungry. [The Healthiest Way to Gain Weight While Pregnant]

If a woman does not stick to a day of healthy food, she shouldn’t berate herself.

According to Katherine Tallmadge, a certified dietitian and contributor to Live Science’s op-ed section, pregnancy can be stressful, and placing too much emphasis on perfection leads to unnecessarily worrying when pregnant. Occasionally indulging is acceptable, but it’s still crucial to exercise restraint to prevent overeating, according to Tallmadge. As a result, she advised expectant mothers to try for smaller portions or stay on the healthier side of the “treat” spectrum. For instance, she advised choosing veggie if you are desiring pizza.

Women who have gained too much weight shouldn’t give up, according to Nicklas, because everyone gains weight at a different rate. If a woman acquires too much weight early in her pregnancy, she suggested that the rate of weight growth be decreased as the pregnancy goes on. According to her, pregnant women with BMIs higher than 35 might not acquire any weight at all.

Doctors do not advise pregnant women to deliberately try to reduce weight, Nicklas continued.

You Had A Child! Next, what?
Going on a diet is probably the last thing from a new mother’s thoughts after giving birth. And that’s great, says Cheryl Lovelady, a nutrition expert at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

I advise mothers to not worry about their weight during the first month, Lovelady stated.

By giving birth, a woman naturally loses some of the weight she gained throughout pregnancy, including the weight of the baby, the placenta, and the amniotic fluid.

A woman can also anticipate losing the weight of the extra fluid that accumulated in her body throughout pregnancy over the next weeks. The excess fat that the lady accumulated during pregnancy is what is left behind after the fluid has been removed.

According to Lovelady, women should be able to shed their excess weight within six months of giving birth.

According to Lovelady, “We advise a weight loss of about 1 pound each week.” According to her, ladies will actually lose more weight initially and then lessen their rate of weight loss as they approach their objectives. By the end, it might just be 1 pound lost every month, but it will be fat rather than fluid, she added.

Not every specialist concurred that the entire amount of weight had to be lost within six months. However, it appears that the maximum amount of time necessary for women to shed all of their pregnancy weight is 12 months. That means women who started out at a normal BMI before pregnancy should aim to return to a normal BMI, and women who were overweight or obese before pregnancy should aim to return to their pre-pregnancy weight, and then continue losing weight, if possible, Nicklas said.

According to recent study, Nicklas continued, women who don’t lose weight within this time frame run a higher chance of keeping it off in the long run.

At this point, she stated, “I encourage that ladies talk to their doctor if they are having problems reducing weight.” To shed their pregnancy weight, many women might require the framework of an evidence-based diet or weight-loss program.

Prior to becoming pregnant again, specialists advise a woman to shed some pounds.

Getting Rid Of Pregnancy Weight

By the time she begins her second pregnancy, a woman should ideally be at a healthy weight, according to Paige van der Pligt, a researcher at the Center for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research at Deakin University in Australia. Timing for weight loss can be difficult, she admitted, because “the interval between two pregnancies will be variable — especially with around 50% of pregnancies being unplanned.” But the research demonstrates to us that it is feasible, she continued.

Diet And Physical Activity Postpartum

According to the experts who spoke with Live Science, losing weight after having a kid is really no different than losing weight at any other time in life, with the exception of breastfeeding (described below). [The Best Method for Safe Weight Loss]

Van der Pligt added, “Evidence demonstrates that both nutrition and exercise play a significant role in the weight-loss process for anyone wanting to reduce weight. This truly isn’t any different for women after giving birth.

In fact, van der Pligt came to the conclusion that “generally, programs which target integrated nutrition and physical activity techniques have been more beneficial than those which focus on just one of these” in her assessment of related studies, which was published in the journal Obesity Reviews in 2013. “Programs that included individualized support are also vital,” she said.

Van der Pligt and her colleagues examined information from 11 trials that focused on postpartum weight-loss strategies for the review. According to the research, they discovered that seven trials contained interventions that were successful in assisting women reduce their postpartum weight retention, and that six of them included both food and physical activity components. The best site, method of delivery, duration of the session, and strategy for recruiting participants, according to the authors, are still unknown for the most successful interventions.

Similar findings were achieved by a 2013 meta-analysis that was published in the journal Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. According to analysis of data from 14 trials, “diet paired with exercise or diet alone compared with standard care seems to benefit in weight loss after giving birth,” but further research is required.

Van der Pligt emphasized that “diet and exercise” do not require women to go on an intensive diet or begin marathon training. Making tiny modifications may be beneficial for shedding pregnancy pounds, according to several research.

For instance, avoiding junk food and engaging in less sedentary activities were linked to postpartum weight loss in the Active Mothers Postpartum trial, which included 450 overweight and obese postpartum mothers. (Lovelady, a co-author of that study, pointed out that these findings applied only to women who were overweight or obese.) Postpartum weight retention is typically not a concern for women who begin at a healthy weight and gain in accordance with recommendations, she noted.)

Overall, a woman should be able to reduce weight after giving birth by adhering to any healthy diet, according to Lovelady. She suggested that vegetarianism, the Mediterranean diet, and Weight Watchers as viable possibilities. Mediterranean Diet: Foods, Advantages, and Dangers

Additionally, a different, smaller study from Sweden that involved 68 overweight or obese women who were all nursing discovered that dietary modifications had the biggest influence on postpartum weight loss. The women were assigned into four groups at random for a 12-week intervention that started between 10 and 14 weeks after giving birth. Three groups received counseling: one on diet, one on diet plus exercise, and one on exercise just. The fourth group functioned as a control group for comparison and got no instruction. According to the study, the women who just followed a diet dropped the most weight and were the only group to still be losing weight nine months later.

Author of the study Rasmussen observed that the women’s dietary modifications were not substantial. According to her, the intervention centered on getting the women to eat less junk food, more veggies, and finally fewer calories overall.

(One drawback of the trial, according to Rasmussen, was that the exercise component did not significantly increase the level of physical activity the women were obtaining before the study began. So even if they followed the activity guidelines, their energy expenditure wasn’t significantly higher, she noted.)

I can assure you that diet is effective, Rasmussen stated. She stated that she advises a diet that emphasizes nutrient-dense calories while avoiding empty calories for those looking to lose weight. Diet and Weight Loss: The Healthiest Eating Habits

Getting Slim After Pregnancy

The experts also concurred that it’s still crucial for new mothers to start exercising again as soon as possible, even if diet seems to be the main driver in reducing the baby weight and exercise doesn’t seem to have a significant impact on weight reduction.

Certainly, a woman should take care of herself and recover after giving birth, but Rasmussen emphasized the importance of getting moving. Gone are the days when women had to spend the whole postpartum period in bed.

Whether they give birth vaginally or via C-section, most women can begin walking shortly after giving birth, according to Nicklas. However, she noted, if a woman wants to engage in more strenuous activities, like lifting weights, they should consult their OB when they can begin.

Every expert we spoke to agreed that walking is a fantastic form of exercise for new mothers. [Best Pedometers of 2016]

Walking has been proven to offer excellent health benefits during the postpartum period, according to van der Pligt. Additionally, she continued, it’s practical and affordable and can be a crucial social activity for new mothers. [How to Get Back into Exercise After Pregnancy]

For instance, in one of Lovelady’s studies, the women began their walking program four weeks after giving birth and subsequently increased it to 45 minutes per day, five days per week, she added. However, she continued, the ladies in the research had been primarily sedentary for the prior three months. Most women can safely and healthily engage in moderate activity while pregnant.

Additionally, it’s crucial to decrease idleness. Researchers examined the effects of watching television, walking, and eating trans fats on postpartum weight retention in a 2007 study that was published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. They discovered that women who engaged in activities like walking for at least 30 minutes each day, watched less than two hours of television per day, and consumed fewer trans fats were less likely to gain at least 11 lbs. (5 kg) a year after giving child.

Even if regular exercise and a good diet together tend to assist maintain weight loss, researchers are aware that physical activity alone does not seem to be a cause of weight loss, according to Oken, the study’s principal author.


After giving delivery, women may have one distinct advantage: breastfeeding. All of the experts we spoke with agreed that food and exercise recommendations for postpartum weight loss don’t fundamentally differ from strategies one would adopt for weight loss at any other period of life. [Basics of Breastfeeding: Advice for Nursing Mothers]

For instance, the researchers found that “breast-feeding could also make a major impact, eradicating [postpartum weight retention by 6 months] in many women” in Rasmussen’s 2008 study, which was published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

(Nicklas pointed out that while large breasts may make a woman feel heavier, in actuality they wouldn’t add much to her weight.)

Rasmussen said there are undoubtedly a number of variables that influence whether breastfeeding has an impact on weight loss, including the quantity and duration of breastfeeding. In general though, she added, the more a woman breastfeeds, the more of an impact it will have on her ability to lose weight.

Simply explained, breastfeeding burns calories since it takes more energy for the body to produce milk. (Rasmussen cautioned that this may not be the only answer. She noted that researchers have not yet examined if additional factors also play a role in the weight reduction linked to breastfeeding.)

In actuality, breastfeeding women’s calorie needs are higher than those of non-breastfeeding women. According to Lovelady, women who exclusively breastfeed burn 500 more calories per day than those who do not. She added that often, breastfeeding women are only told to boost their daily caloric intake by about 330 calories. Losing weight is a result of the deficiency.

Rasmussen explained that this means the calorie guidelines for nursing mothers don’t entirely account for the calories required to create milk. According to her, scientists predict that burning body fat will contribute to a portion of the calorie expenditure. Breastfeeding is therefore crucial for women who are somewhat active and who gained a reasonable amount of weight during pregnancy, according to Rasmussen. But, she continued, “you may undo it all by overeating.

Rasmussen claims that breastfeeding is still the most crucial factor in determining whether a woman will lose all of her pregnancy weight among diet, activity, and breastfeeding.

The mother and the child are the two main actors in this situation, according to Rasmussen. “Breastfeeding is therefore the best [method] for the mother and the infant to use together. She said, “The mother will lose weight if she doesn’t overeat, and the baby gets the best nutrition we have to give.” Rasmussen noted that if a lady wants to reduce more weight than that, she can diet, exercise, or do both.

However, there isn’t general agreement among academics over how breastfeeding affects weight loss.

The role that breastfeeding plays in postpartum weight loss has “been looked at in many research, and there’s still not a clear answer,” according to Nicklas. She went on to say that if all research were taken into account, there would likely be slightly more evidence that breastfeeding is beneficial.

But Nicklas emphasized that breastfeeding is not necessary for weight loss to comfort women who are unable to or prefer not to do so.

Likewise, Van der Pligt. Despite the fact that many breastfeeding mothers do experience weight loss, numerous studies have found that breastfeeding has little to no impact on a mother’s weight change, she added.

Therefore, van der Pligt added, “we cannot expect that a lady will lose weight simply because she is nursing.” She explained that the focus is primarily on encouraging women to lead healthy, attainable lifestyles that will improve their health and help them regain a healthy weight after giving birth.

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