So, you’re a new Mommy, overwhelmed with the ups and downs of having a new baby, and wondering when (and how) you’re going to lose all those extra pregnancy pounds?
Baby weight isn’t here to stay if you don’t let it, and if you’re consistent with yourself you should have no problem losing the pounds in under a year.
That being said, you should be aware that you may never regain your old body. While some women go back to their previous size and shape, many find that the shape of their hips, thighs and breasts are not quite the same as before the pregnancy. It’s normal! Your body has gone through a whole lot of change in very little time, and has adapted to the situation wonderfully.
Anyway, while the actual baby weight (about half of the total pregnancy, in most cases) should be gone within the first two months, the rest of the pregnancy weight (usually settled in the belly, arms and thighs) can linger a little longer if you don’t take the situation under control.
This blog post will provide useful tips on losing weight postpartum.
What actually is baby weight?
A lot happens to your body during pregnancy, a lot more than most people are actually aware of. In general during pregnancy you should aim to gain 2-3 pounds per month, totalling about 20 pounds. But your baby is obviously not going to weigh 20 pounds, right?
While the baby makes up a big part of the pregnancy weight gain (about 6.6-9 lbs approximately), the rest is distributed as such:
- The baby’s “accessories”: placenta, amniotic fluid and of course, uterus. They usually represent 3-4 pounds.
- Breast tissue and blood volume, totalling about 2-3 pounds.
- Fluid retention (2-3 pounds)
- Fat stores (5-9 pounds)
Why do we store so much fat, you ask? First of all, it’s essential to compensate for the increase of energy needed to grow a fetus from scratch, all the while letting Mommy live a fairly normal life. It also provides extra warmth and protection for the fetus. Finally, it’s there to prepare for breastfeeding, a time when Mommy will be burning up to 3000 calories a day just by feeding their baby, and needs the extra energy storage to keep it up.
But while all that is nice and well, you might feel that the pregnancy weight is lingering a little too long, and want to help it along.
Let’s look at what we can do to speed along the process of losing weight postpartum.
Now, don’t go overboard. You just gave birth and your body is flowing with pregnancy hormones that can make heavy exercising painful and even dangerous.
One in particular, Relaxin, can be a real bummer when exercising. Relaxin is a hormone that appears at the very beginning of pregnancy and which helps loosen the ligaments in the body to prepare for childbirth. While this is awesome for labor and delivery, it can also affect joint stability and increase the risk of injury during exercise.
The loosening of ligaments can make postpartum women more prone to joint and muscle injuries. It's important to listen to your body and exercise with caution, avoiding high-impact activities or exercises that put excessive stress on the joints. Low-impact exercises such as walking, swimming, yoga, and stationary cycling are generally safer options during pregnancy.
Aim to exercise at least 3 times a week, although daily is of course best. Take it slow at first and increase the cadence little by little, until you reach your pregnancy weight loss goal, and of course afterwards.
Self-hypnosis can help you stay motivated to exercise daily and lose weight postpartum.
Maintain a healthy diet
There is no secret to weight loss, it always comes down to exercising and eating properly. However in this case, you should take into consideration whether you’re breastfeeding or not.