postpartum woman measuring her belly
postpartum woman measuring her belly

For many women, weight loss after pregnancy can be a real problem. Between taking care of a new baby and their body’s changes, it’s easy to see how losing weight might be more difficult. The thing with postpartum weight loss is that it is a very tricky time for the mother, and it’s important if you’re going to try and lose the post-baby weight that you do it safely and healthily.

We understand that most women want to get back to their normal weight as soon as possible following a pregnancy, so in this post, we are going to discuss weight loss after birth and try to help you find the best way to lose weight postpartum without damaging your body and without having to sacrifice time with your baby.

How much weight is lost when giving birth?

Before we talk about how to effectively lose weight, we want to ensure that everyone knows every pregnancy is different, every woman is different, how each person gains weight, how much weight, and how that weight is distributed are all different. There is no magic number for how much weight you will lose immediately when giving birth, but it is safe to say that there will be some natural weight loss.

Women’s average weight loss after giving birth is 13 pounds. This includes the weight of the baby, the placenta, and amniotic fluid. Some women may lose around 10-12 pounds. It is important also to remember that this is pure weight and does not account for fat loss. We’ll talk more about safe dieting postpartum later in the article.

Even if you don’t lose as much weight as the average woman after giving birth to a child, this will not hamper your ability to lose weight once you have safely recovered from the birth and follow a proper postpartum weight loss plan.

How quickly can I lose weight after pregnancy?

It’s easy to want to lose as much weight as possible right away, but not going about your postpartum weight loss the right way can be dangerous to a mother’s health. Most doctors suggest to wait at least six weeks after giving birth before beginning any sort of dieting or rigorous exercise to allow for proper recovery time after the birth.

Doctors point out that exercising and losing weight too quickly after giving birth can lengthen the time it takes to fully recover.

Be mindful that mothers will still need extra nutrients after giving birth due to the loss of nutrients from both pregnancy and the birth procedure. Women should also avoid low-calorie diets until after six weeks to prevent health problems. Dieting should also be avoided if the mother is or plans on breastfeeding her baby as the diet can harm not only the mother but rob the baby of nutrients that they would otherwise get from their mother’s milk.

Does breastfeeding make you lose weight faster?

Some women can gain a common benefit from breastfeeding: they will lose weight quickly. Unfortunately, no scientific answer tells all postpartum mothers how to lose weight while breastfeeding; it simply happens for some, and for others, it does not.

woman breastfeeding her baby outside

The weight you lose while breastfeeding is determined primarily by these factors:

  • Activity level
  • Eating habits
  • Overall health
  • Pre-pregnancy weight
  • Weight gain during pregnancy

Choosing to breastfeed does not guarantee weight loss or accelerated weight loss, so it is best to discuss with your doctor the benefits and risks of breastfeeding before deciding to do so. Mothers who decide to breastfeed should be aware of the risks of taking supplements and taking low-calorie diets while breastfeeding. Doing either can cause harm to both the baby and the mother, including malnourishment and slow development of the baby or low weight gain.

Tips for postpartum weight loss

There are ways to safely lose weight after having a baby, whether you choose to breastfeed or not. The important thing is to focus on health or drastic weight changes, as the mother’s health can affect the child’s health, and healthy weight loss should always be the goal over speedy weight loss.

Start slow

No rule says you must try to lose all your weight at once. As a new mother, you will naturally lose some weight from having the baby, and more weight will come off gradually as your diet and habits return to pre-pregnancy levels. Once at six weeks postpartum, it is typically safe to begin light exercise to help with weight loss and also help begin the process of rebuilding the post-pregnancy body.

woman doing low impact exercises

Keep exercises light and low impact at first to avoid injury, and focus on gradual increases in activity level.

Be sure to rest

Taking care of a new baby is sure to keep you very busy, so if you focus on exercising too often, you may find yourself tired and jeopardize your health. Alternate workout days or rest when you’re more active so your body can recover properly.

woman sleeping calmly in her bed

Focus on a healthy diet

It can be tempting to go immediately for a low-calorie or “crash diet” to try and lose weight from pregnancy, but this can be extremely harmful to a new mother. Rather than focus solely on low calories, focus on a healthy diet full of vitamin-rich fruits and vegetables, lean meats like fish or poultry, proteins, and all the minerals you should be getting daily.

a top-view of a bowl filled with healthy food, mostly its fruit.

This is even more important if you are breastfeeding, as the baby will get all of their nutrition from the mother, so a mother with a low-calorie or unhealthy diet will transfer that to their baby.

Take it one day at a time

Our last tip is to focus on the day-to-day while trying to lose weight. While it is good to have an end goal in mind while losing your post-pregnancy weight, the most important thing is staying healthy throughout the process and losing weight little by little over time.

woman relaxing on her balcony

Get help from a healthcare professional

Having someone there to guide you through your weight loss journey after pregnancy can make a huge difference in how well you lose the pregnancy weight, how well your recovery goes, and how healthy you feel throughout the process.

The most important thing is communication. Stay in touch with your doctor throughout your postpartum weight loss journey. Discuss with them your weight loss goals, any challenges you experience, and the progress you are making. This will ensure you lose weight safely.

Conclusion

When trying to lose weight after pregnancy, it is important to remember that weight will come off naturally and that dieting and exercise should only be attempted after the mother has recovered. Breastfeeding can speed up the weight loss process but is not a guarantee. The most important thing to consider when losing weight is proper nutrition.

Always talk to a doctor and take their advice when trying to lose weight so that there is someone there to help guide you and help you avoid any challenges.

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