Now that the baby is here, you have a lot of stuff to fret about. Initial months may pass worrying about feeding the baby, sleep concerns, vaccinations, etc. Amidst all this postpartum weight is one of the concerns.
For many women, returning to pre-pregnancy weight can be strife. Newborn care, new routine, and postpartum recovery can be stressful. Yet, it is crucial to get back to a healthy weight post-childbirth, especially if you are planning to get pregnant again.
What is Baby Weight?
Pregnant women with average weight before conceiving tend to gain 25-35 pounds during pregnancy.
This weight gain consists of –
- 7-8 pound baby (3-4 kilograms)
- 2-3 pound placenta (1 to 1.5 kilograms)
- 2-3 pound amniotic fluid (1 to 1.5 kilograms)
- 2-3 pound breast tissue (1 to 1.5 kilograms)
- 3-4 pound blood (2 kilograms)
- 2-6 pound uterus 1 to 3 kilograms
- extra fat of approx 4-10 pounds (2 to 5 kilograms)
This is an ideal weight gain. Excess weight gain will just be an added amount of fat.
Reasons for Too Much Post-Pregnancy Weight
“Why do I gain weight so easily while pregnant?” Ask nearly all women.
Nowadays, it’s a trend to eat a lot of dry fruits, fruits, juices, and other healthy things during pregnancy for the sake of a healthy baby. Owing to this women gain weight more than required.
Post-delivery new baby, new schedule, sleepless nights, and 24*7 job makes it difficult to eat mindfully or lose weight. In this whole journey, the mother’s body changes a lot. There are stretch marks, scars, pigmentation, dark circles, leaky uneven breasts, hair loss, etc. No one talks about this postpartum journey of self-doubt as a new mom. There seems no time left to watch weight.
Risks of Excessive Pregnancy Weight
Gaining too much weight during pregnancy puts moms and their babies at risk for health problems both during pregnancy and after. Some of these include:
- Increased discomfort– Uneasiness adds up if you have too much weight. From aggravated backaches, increased leg pain due to swelling of feet, exhaustion, worsening varicose veins, intense heartburn, painful piles, hurting joints, and lot more.
- Less accurate ultrasound results. If you are obese, the doctor may find it difficult to see the baby and scan accurately. The ultrasounds will be longer and more in numbers as compared to the right weight person.
- Gestational diabetes– Women with extra weight are more prone to gestational diabetes which may in the future puts you at the risk of type 2 diabetes.
- High blood pressure– Being overweight can leads to gestational hypertension which may prove fatal during delivery.
- Thyroid– Studies say that higher TSH and lower FT4 levels in pregnant women were associated to higher pre-pregnancy BMI and excessive weight during pregnancy.
- Preeclampsia– Its a pregnancy complication that may damage other organs like liver and kidney, Vitamin D deficiency, and placental abruption.
- Large baby (fetal macrosomia)– A baby born this large (more than 8 pounds) can cause complications during labor like delay in birth and heavy bleeding.
- Cesarean Birth– If you are overweight, the chances of C-section increases.
- Premature Baby– If you have high BMI and extra fat your baby is likely to be born untimely. Preterm birth is linked with health risks like breathing problems, eating issues, developmental problems for the baby later in life.
- Birth defects. Children born to overweight mothers are at more risk of birth defects like congenital malformations, heart problems, neural tube holes, defects of the genital organs, limbs, digestive system, and nervous system.
- Obesity– If you are already overweight, the chances are you will have a hard time losing weight. There is a high risk of being obese later in life.
Right Time to Lose Pregnancy Weight?
You should intend to get back to pre-pregnancy weight by 9-12 months post-delivery. Most women shed 60% of their baby weight by 2-months after childbirth. They lose the rest in the next 3-4 months.
Breastfeeding, baby-duties, watchful eating and light exercises will help you drop a good amount of weight effortlessly.
Lose Weight After Pregnancy Naturally
It’s all about get moving, eating healthy and living stress-free. Breastfeeding mothers need to maintain milk supply while losing weight. Take your time. Let your body heal on its own without strenuous efforts while adjusting to new life.
Here are some tips-
- Breastfeed– Breastfeeding have immense benefits to both mother and baby. One perk is assisting in postpartum weight loss. Exclusive breastfeeding burns up to 500 calories per day that means if you are taking the recommended amount of calories and breastfeeding each day, you should lose about 1 pound a week or two. Breastfeeding eases the uterus to contract and retreat to its normal size quicker post-delivery.
- Monitor your pregnancy weight- Gaining the right weight that your doctor has prescribed is the best way to lose postpartum fat efficiently. Gaining right is the best predictor of losing post-baby weight soon.
- Right–Calorie diet – No crash dieting, please. Post-delivery the body demands good nutrition to recover. If you choose to breastfeed stay afar from a calorie-deficit diet. Aim to eat just 300 calories less and burn 200 calories exercising.
- Eat enough protein– You need to get toned. Don’t aim to get skinny by eliminating valuable proteins from your diet. You need to maintain muscle mass, recover from workouts, keep you full and satiated when you’re dieting. Include 0.7 to 1.0 grams per pound of bodyweight. This may seem like a lot at first but it actually burns a lot of calories in its own digestion.
- Sleep– A sound sleep helps your muscle grows and recover. Lack of sleep makes everything else way more difficult. 7-9 hours of sleep at night is required to recover from the labor-drained body and keep your hunger levels in check. When you don’t sleep enough your body will be hungrier, so get a tight sleep every night.
- Hydrate yourself– You need to drink plenty of water. Doing so will help aid in muscle recovery and also aid indigestion. Aim to drink 2/3 of your body weight (lbs) in ounces.
- Avoid unhealthy food– Try to limit your sugary drinks and other junk food to improve your health. This will reduce your calorie intake as well. Building and working on your short and long term habits can make a huge difference in your body in the long run.
- Exercise– Get in habit of exercising 3-4 times a week for at least half-hour. Exercising plays a major part in losing weight because you burn extra calories and build muscles, which will aid your caloric deficit and ensure the fat you lose stays off. Cardio, movement, 10k steps/ day, finding active hobbies you enjoy will keep you consistent and make it a lot more fun to burn extra calories.
- Belly binding– Its old-mom one best advice. Wrapping or binding your belly helps to tuck that extra fat and bulge of your tummy. It is a traditional way known as Bengkung belly binding. It is a popular way to wrap the abdomen postpartum to promote healing and provide warmth. You can use a long fabric, binding bandage, corset, or a tummy tucker to tuck your belly in.
- Resistance training- You can safe-return to exercise as soon as you feel able to. In the initial months bypass sit-ups, crunches, or abdominal curls. Pay attention to abdominal exercises and pelvic floor exercises. Always exercise under professional vigil specially post-birth.
What To Eat for Postpartum Weight Loss
Post-birth new mothers experience dizziness and fatigue. They need a diet that can help them strengthen and not leave them constantly starving and feeling deprived. Fad diets a big ‘NO’. Instead, they must prioritize nutrient-loaded foods to recover sooner.
Eat a nutrient-dense diet that leaves you filled and satisfied.
Pick from here some options if you can’t decide-
- Fiber-rich foods– fruits, leafy greens, vegetables, and whole grains
- Low fat or fat-free dairy – Skim or low-fat milk
- Lean proteins– poultry, fish, beef, and soy foods
- Healthy sources of fat– beans, nuts, Hard-boiled eggs, and vegetable oils
- Iron-rich foods– fortified cereals, prune juice, and lean meats.
- Vitamin C-rich foods– oranges, tomatoes, and natural fruit juices.
- Energy giving foods – Fruit smoothies. apples and nuts
- Filling foods– Whole-grain cereal with milk, whole-grain bread with nut butter
- Limit foods high in saturated fat– red meat, coconut oil, and palm oil
- Restrict sugary foods and drinks
Magic Potions from Grandmothers’ Secret Book
The Internet is full of remedies, hacks, tips, and tricks for weight loss. But here we have some tried and tested drinks that work like magic. And if you continuously drink any of them empty stomach or all at alternate days you can see visible results in just one month. They will help to boost up your metabolism and helps in fat burning. Pregnancy weight is mostly retained fluid which sheds very fast with these drinks.
- Fenugreek water – take one teaspoon of fenugreek seeds in one glass of water and soak them overnight. Warm it and drink empty stomach in the morning. You can also roast fenugreek seeds in a pan and grind them to a powder and take one teaspoon of this with warm water daily. It also helps to increase milk production in lactating mothers.
- Dried ginger and carom seeds- take an equal quantity of both ingredients and grind them to a fine powder. Take one teaspoon of this power early morning and before bed with warm water. It boosts up immunity and also helps to shrink the uterus back to its shape quickly.
- Magic herbal tea- yeah! this name justifies this drink because it’s magical in its work. And we can find all the ingredients within our kitchen. So, all we need is black cumin seed, flaxseed, Carom seed, cinnamon stick, and fennel seed. Take each of them in equal quantity and roast the flax seed in a pan or u can dry roast everything, then grind it into a powder. Take one teaspoon of this in a glass of water and boil it till is reduced to half. Sieve it and Drink this empty stomach every morning. Don’t eat anything after the half-hour after drinking this. You can add one glass to the residue and repeat the process in the evening to get faster results.
- Honey lemon water – this is the most common drink to reduce fat. All you have to do is take one glass warm water, add one teaspoon of organic honey, and squeeze some lemon. Drinking this early morning is really beneficial. You can also add soaked chia seeds for more health benefits and faster weight loss.
- Detox water- this infused water really helps to reduce your weight by detoxifying your body, plus it tastes good too. You need to add fruits and herbs by chopping them in hot or cold water according to your preference. The more ingredients you use the better and stronger the flavor become. You can add cucumber, mint, ginger, Berries, lemon, etc. If you prefer it cold then keep it in the fridge for a minimum of one to two hours to allow the flavors to infuse more deeply.
- Green tea- another drink that boosts up your metabolism is green tea. You can add honey, ginger, or lemon to enhance its flavor. It helps in reducing weight by increasing our metabolism. Drink four to five times a day or after each meal to get better results.
Best Postpartum Snacks
If you desire to snack post-pregnancy, pick from the following-
- Whole-grain crackers or whole-wheat bagel with hummus
- Nuts and dry-fruits
- Soybean chunks
- whole-grain cereal with low-fat milk
- A hard-boiled egg with a sprinkle of seasoning
- Low-fat cheese with a bowl of grated fruit or crackers
- Nut butter on an apple slice or pita bread
- banana slices with honey
- Plain Greek yogurt with berries
Is It Safe to Diet While Breastfeeding?
Yes totally, after your doctor signaled green. Experts advise breastfeeding mothers at least 1800-2000 calorie-intake per day. With this one can safely lose about 1 lb/week with some light exercises. Although 1800 calories/day is too much for someone trying to lose weight, brisk walking, light exercises, careful stretching, yoga will help.
Strive to consume a diet loaded with colorful fruits and veggies while minimizing sugar, trans fats, carbohydrates, and junk food.
- Find out what suits you and your lifestyle. Don’t be harsh on yourself
- Don’t neglect baby while losing postpartum weight.
- Don’t give up or get distracted
- Talk to your doctor you are still gaining and it doesn’t seem to be linked to overeating.
- Maintain right weight during pregnancy
- Never try to lose weight during pregnancy. If your doctor recommends do it so under professional guidelines
- Don’t eat for two while pregnant. 300 extra calories a day is sufficient to maintain your baby’s growth and development.