Having a baby is a life-changing experience no doubt. Carrying baby weight after birth is normal. Remember the work that your body had to go through to create a baby. Despite all the headlines about celebrities losing their pregnancy weight in four weeks, the truth is that getting back into shape after pregnancy can be challenging and lengthy. Getting your healthy weight back is important as it can allow you to enjoy your baby, have sufficient energy, be healthy for future pregnancies, and boost your confidence. Losing weight after pregnancy is of course possible. It is recommended to get back to pre-pregnancy weight between six and 12 months after your baby is born. Here, I am going to share with you some good practices to guarantee that will support you back to yourself the healthy and sustainable way.
What Is The Baby Weight?
Firstly, changing shape during pregnancy is normal. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that the healthy range for weight gain during pregnancy is between 25-30 pounds (11.5-16 kgs). The recommended weight gain might vary depending on if you were underweight or overweight before the pregnancy and in the case of multiple babies.
This weight gain is necessary for your body to have enough energy reserves for birth and breastfeeding. Pregnancy weight consist of approximately 26 pounds (13kg) which is spread out into:
- extra fat store – 7lbs (3 kgs)
- increase blood volume – 4lbs (1.8 kgs)
- increased fluid volume – 2.2 lbs (1 kg)
- bigger breast size – 3 lbs (1.4 kg)
- larger uterus size – 2.2 lbs (1 kg)
- placenta – 2.2 lbs (1 kg)
- amniotic fluid – 2.2 lbs (1 kg)
- the fetus -7 lbs (3 kgs)
Keeping in mind your doctor’s recommendation on how much weight you should gain during pregnancy will help you better bounce back after pregnancy. Most of it will disappear after birth, and the remaining will be gone as you breastfeed your baby.
However, according to the CDC, 50% of women gain more weight than the recommended one during pregnancy. In this case, some adjustments can help you with getting back into shape after pregnancy. I have to emphasize that this does not mean looking for a specific way of getting a toned body. The important part is that you get to a healthy weight. Always talk to your doctor about what would be your specific healthy weight range. Having a healthy weight will decrease the risk of having high blood pressure, diabetes, and cardiovascular issues, besides making conceiving again easier.
7 Things To Keep In Mind When Getting Back Into Shape After Pregnancy
- Breastfeeding: I always recommend breastfeeding your baby. It is the best way to give your newborn all the nutrients and immunity they need. Besides this, breastfeeding will help you lose weight naturally since it requires many calories. You might notice the first three months that you gain weight while you are breastfeeding, but this is only because of milk production. In the long run, breastfeeding will help you lose weight.
- Keep realistic goals: on average, women will lose 10 pounds (4.5 kgs) naturally during the first year after birth. Gaining the recommended amount of weight during pregnancy will help to get back to pre-pregnancy weight naturally. If you gain more weight, then you might be a few kilos over your pre-pregnancy weight. With a good healthy food plan and exercise, you will reach your goals, but it will not happen overnight. It is not healthy to lose weight too quickly after birth. When setting your goals, keep in mind that it will take about 12 months to get back to a healthy weight.
- Your body might not look the same: during pregnancy, many changes happen to your body, and some could be permanent. You might have bigger hips, stretch marks, loser belly skin, and a larger waistline. These changes are normal, just a part of creating a new life. Try not to overthink it. The important part is getting back into shape after pregnancy, and not to look a certain way.
- Avoid crash diets: most of us have tried crash diets. These could be low-calorie or low-carb diets that can help you lose weight very fast. Crash diets are not recommended to lose weight overall since you will find yourself getting the weight back very quickly. After pregnancy, crash diets are an absolute no. You need to have a proper intake of calories; your body is healing, producing milk, and taking care of a newborn. You need energy, and energy comes from eating.
- Choose your food wisely: as a new mom, you need energy. Therefore, you need to consume a healthy amount of calories every day. The best idea is to discuss with your doctor what would be the recommended amount of calories for you in one day. Try to consume foods with lower caloric value. This will allow you to eat more volume and stay full longer. For example, a chocolate bar has around 500 calories, while an apple has 50. Instead of having one small chocolate bar, you could have 10 apples. This will keep you full longer, besides having all the nutrients that you and your baby needs.
- Get moving: what we eat contributes to 90% of the weight loss process, but exercise is also relevant since it will boost your metabolism. Maybe you do not have time to go to the gym because you are a new mom. Try taking your baby on a 30 minute walk with the stroller. Later on, you can try exercising at home. Strength training is a great option.
- Maintain healthy habits: drink enough water, at least 2 liters per day. Try to get enough sleep and avoid alcohol. Being a mom can be stressful, so it’s important to take time for yourself and don’t develop coping mechanisms that are stressful – such as binge eating, smoking or spending excess time scrolling on social media.
When it comes to losing weight after pregnancy there is a lot of pressure on how fast it should happen. Celebrities show on social media how their bodies look just eight weeks after pregnancy. Most of them look even better than before. Remember that every person is different, and when it comes to celebrities, their job is to look a certain way. They have an entire team to help them achieve their goals. The truth is, the priority is to be healthy and keep your weight within the healthy range. Please do not pressure yourself to look a certain way fast. Enjoy the process, have fun with your baby and take care of yourself.