One of the many things women have to deal with after giving birth is weight gain, along with anxiety, difficulty sleeping, irritability, and appetite problems. While gaining extra pounds during pregnancy is generally acceptable among expecting moms, postpartum weight can bring bouts of frustration for some.
But, here’s what new moms deserve to remember: From the many pounds one has gained during the course of one’s pregnancy due to the baby’s weight, the placenta, amniotic fluid, increased breast tissue, fat, fluids, and blood, experts say that there is a lot that women do not lose right after the baby is born, and thus going back to their pre-pregnancy state can take a while.
Still, if one is motivated to shed some of the weight as soon as possible, just make sure to do it in a safe and healthy way. In this article, we highlighted a few things that can help jumpstart one’s postpartum weight loss journey.
Postpartum Weight Loss
Preparations for a weight loss treatment to address postpartum weight varies for every woman. Taking the time to recover from childbirth is a crucial factor to allow the body to heal first. Experts suggest waiting at least a week or more to think about working on postpartum weight loss and whether it suits them and their body.
One’s diet and lifestyle, likewise, should be considered.
Women can choose to seek a medical treatment plan professionally, or they can observe a healthy lifestyle on their own as much as possible. Essentially, moms can always benefit from eating a healthy and well-balanced diet paired with regular exercise.
It is recommended to prioritize eating fruits, vegetables, lean meats, fish, and plant-based proteins. When it comes to physical activity, walking is vouched for in terms of efficient weight loss, as well as other similarly simple exercises like Kegels, yoga, and tai chi can.
Adding exercises to routine activities can also help — say, doing lunges while brushing teeth or doing squats while waiting for milk bottles to warm up. The constant travel from upstairs to downstairs creates extra movement and exercise that moms can also embrace.
Benefits of Postpartum Exercise
Squeezing in a few minutes of exercise every day helps anyone. But below are some of its benefits particularly for women who have just given birth:
1. Exercise helps lose fat instead of muscle weight
When women are ready to start losing weight, they should eat a little less and move a little more daily. Gradually doing so is the way to go. Pushing into a complex routine immediately for fast weight loss can only lead to more damage and is unhealthy.
2. A postpartum exercise can be a bonding experience with the newborn baby
If it is a challenge to find the time to exercise, including the baby in the postpartum exercise is the way to go. Take the baby for a daily walk in a stroller or baby carrier. Laying the baby while stretching on the floor or including them in strength training activities like lifting them creates a bonding experience.
A postpartum exercise does not need to be too serious. Have fun and include other moms and babies too.
In fact, even the simple practice of nursing one’s newborn can help. Just keep in mind that its effect is different for everyone, but breastfeeding is beneficial all the same. Here are a few ways how:
Benefits of Postpartum Breastfeeding
1. Burns calories
Breastfeeding can burn an average of 500 calories per day. Suppose breastfeeding moms take the suggested amount of calories daily and breastfeed exclusively. In that case, they should lose about one pound every week or two.
It might not be a lot, but a gradual and slow loss is better, safer, and healthier. Meaning eating more to sustain breastfeeding can still help women to lose weight.
2. Helps in regulating nutritional intake
As women breastfeed, getting back those calories is vital to avoid leaving the body without enough energy to support recovery, produce milk, and perform other necessary functions. High-fiber foods and nutritionally dense fruits and vegetables help regulate women’s nutritional intake for breastfeeding and fast recovery.
Adequate protein intake, such as fish, nuts, beans, and chicken, can help women stay full while breastfeeding.
3. Helps women recover from childbirth more quickly
Aside from helping postpartum weight loss, breastfeeding aids in quick childbirth recovery. Hormones released while breastfeeding help the uterus to return to its standard form more quickly, reducing postpartum bleeding.
4. Saves money and prep time
Breast milk is organic and natural. Compared to formula, breastfeeding saves parents time and money from buying and preparing formula to feed their babies. It is also suitable for the environment, as it lessens the use of plastic bottles and formula cans to discard.
5. Lowers the risk of other health conditions
Because of hormonal changes, breastfeeding protects women from high blood pressure, diabetes, and breast and ovarian cancers. Plus, it can keep the bones strong.
6. Decreases the likelihood of postpartum depression
A recent study shows how breastfeeding may help lower the risk of postpartum depression, a form of depression that occurs after childbirth, and improve mothers’ mental health. Experts say breastfeeding mothers experience reduced stress and anxiety and have more stable sleep patterns.
The Weight of the After Birth is Normal
Women’s bodies should be celebrated and embraced not only during pregnancy but most especially after childbirth, even if it entails gaining extra weight. A new life has begun because of that body, and the additional pounds are a very normal byproduct of it.
Although breastfeeding does help burn calories, the key to maintaining a healthy body for mothers, and babies as well, is still sticking to a well-balanced and nutritious diet. And of course, by doing regular exercises that are safe and healthy.
To learn the best and safest ways to lose weight postpartum, consult the Weight Wellness clinic of Makati Medical Center, a world-class healthcare facility and medical services provider in the Philippines.