During pregnancy, weight gain is essential. Once the baby arrives, it may take some time – possibly a year or longer – to return to your pre-pregnancy weight.
A baby changes everything – including weight loss. After giving birth, it is different than at other times, especially if you are breastfeeding your baby.
When you are ready to lose baby weight, how can you do so in a healthy way while taking care of yourself and your little one? Here is the advice of Elizabeth Ward, MS, RD, an expert in pregnancy, breastfeeding, and child nutrition and the author of Expect the Best.
To support the growth and development of a new life, many calories and good nutrition are required. Therefore, it is very important to eat a healthy diet during pregnancy. However, it is also important to be mindful not to gain too much or too little weight.
Most doctors base their weight gain recommendations on the mother’s weight before pregnancy. Women with a normal body mass index (BMI) should gain between 25 and 35 pounds, and up to 45 pounds for twins. Overweight women can safely gain between 15 and 25 pounds, but should not use pregnancy as a time for dieting or losing weight before pregnancy.
Ask your doctor if it is safe for you to gain less or more than the recommended range. Pregnancy is a very personal journey. The most important thing is to take care of yourself, eat healthily, and make sure to take prenatal vitamins to ensure you and your baby are getting all the nutrients you need before birth.
This is a myth. Excessive weight gain does not necessarily lead to a larger baby. Just because you are „eating for two“ does not mean you should eat twice as much. If you gain more than 25-35 pounds with a single birth, it just makes it harder to lose weight after birth.
Forget about dieting for at least 6 weeks after giving birth and focus on a healthy diet. Most women suffer from sleep deprivation, fatigue, and lack of energy to exercise, prepare healthy meals, and do everything necessary to lose weight in this stressful time.
Baby weight loss may take up to a year. Ideally, you should aim to gradually reduce weight and aim for 1-2 pounds per week.
I’m not sure how they can lose weight so quickly, and it may not be the safest way. Celebrities‘ financial means probably allow them to hire baby help and personal trainers to get back in shape quickly, as they rely on their appearance for their livelihood.
Calorie reduction and crash diets will not help. Good nutrition is just as important as sleep and physical activity – but these issues are harder to control than diet when you have a newborn. A low-calorie diet can help you lose weight quickly, but it can lead to the loss of muscle mass and lower your energy levels. New mothers need diets that give them energy to meet the demands of a newborn and any other children at home.
And if you are a breastfeeding mother, you cannot restrict calorie intake – otherwise, it will affect the quality of your breast milk.
Count calories throughout pregnancy until the fourth trimester (or 3 months after birth), as your body requires good nutrition for the baby’s growth. Six weeks after the baby’s birth, you can start cutting back a few hundred calories a day. Consult [the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s myplate.gov website] to determine the right amount of calories for you and save up to 500 calories, making sure to consume at least 1,600 calories per day. Remember: When reducing calories, it is important to ensure that every calorie counts by eating nutrient-rich foods.
For your endurance and energy, you need balanced meals at least 3-4 times a day. Stock your kitchen with healthy foods so that junk food, sweet temptations, and other triggering foods do not affect your healthy diet. Reduce extra fats and oils, as they can drive up calorie intake. Snack on fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and high-fiber foods that will help you feel full without overeating. Drink plenty of water and nutritious beverages.
Breastfeeding mothers should not diet for weight loss, as they need many calories for breastfeeding and are the sole source of nutrition for their infants. Even if the weight does not decrease as quickly as if you were not breastfeeding, you can take comfort in knowing that you are doing the best for the baby. Breast milk [gives] provides your baby with everything it needs for growth and development in the first few months.
Good nutrition is essential. Your diet affects the quality of breast milk, while the quantity depends on how much you breastfeed.
Breastfeeding should not be used as a method for weight loss, as you could actually gain weight while breastfeeding if you are not careful about your diet. It is a myth that breastfeeding burns many calories in milk production. You burn some stored body fat, but your body preserves some fat for the purpose of breastfeeding. Many women do not fully lose their baby weight until they completely stop breastfeeding.
When it comes to exercise, think „slow and gradual“ to reach your pre-pregnancy fitness level. Physical activity is an essential part of safe and healthy weight loss, and most mothers can resume exercise within weeks after a normal vaginal delivery. Cesarean deliveries require additional rest and wound healing before regular physical activity. Consult your doctor before starting an exercise program.
By the sixth week, most mothers are ready for walking. Take two 15-minute walks with your baby every day and gradually increase your activity level. This is a great way to build your endurance and burn calories. If walking does not work, take advantage of your baby’s nap time to play a video or sign up for a fitness program for mothers and babies.
Studies show that mothers who slept less than six hours per night had greater difficulty losing weight six months after birth than mothers who slept more than six hours. There are many adjustments when bringing a baby home, and even more when other little people need you.
Rest is important for you to focus on a healthy diet and find time for physical activity. Do everything you can to get enough sleep. And try not to be a superwoman until you have the energy, because weight control takes a lot of energy.