Fitness and weight loss

Best way to lose weight after pregnancy

Discover the best way to lose weight after pregnancy.

For some women, to lose weight is not an easy task as that time of joy when a warm, snuggly newborn baby finally arrives can be confused with feelings about changes in their bodies, and many of these women have lost weight in the past nine years. I have a question about how to reduce the -plus month.

9 safe ways to lose weight during pregnancy9 safe ways to lose weight during pregnancy

Studies show that many women seem to retain at least a few pounds postpartum, with a quarter of women retaining 11 pounds (5 kilograms or more) one year after giving birth.

After having a baby, a woman retains 2.5 to 5 pounds on average. (1-2 kg), says Kathleen Rasmussen, professor of maternal and child nutrition at Cornell University. That may not seem like a big deal, but she said that if women had more children or gained weight for other reasons, they could gain weight.

Holding on to pregnancy weight can have serious health consequences down the road, putting mothers at risk for chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.

And losing weight during pregnancy is important not only for new moms but for babies as well. Going into a future pregnancy with a higher weight can put both mother and the developing baby at risk for medical complications such as gestational diabetes and high blood pressure.

To determine best practices for women wanting to lose the baby weight, digs into the data, reviews the best studies on postpartum weight loss, and speaks with leading experts in the field.


Ultimately, post-pregnancy weight loss boils down to three main points, starting before you give birth.

For women worried about extra gestational pounds, the experts we spoke with said that returning to your pre-pregnancy weight is indeed possible, and it shou,ld ultimately be your goal. I agree with you.

“Most women lose much of the weight they naturally gained during pregnancy without much effort,” said Dr. Emily Oken, professor of population medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston.

And while a woman can lose all her pregnancy weight without making a big change in her life, the natural changes in a woman’s lifestyle that occur after giving birth certainly pose new challenges.

“[Women] don’t need to make a lot of changes, but they need to figure out how they fit in with their previous healthy diet and activities,” Oken told

Weight gain during pregnancy

18.5 24.9 usually 25-25 lbs (11-16 kg)
less than 18.5 lightweight 13-18 kg (28-40 lbs)
25〜29.9 Overweight 15-25 lbs (7-11 kg)
> 30 obesity 5-9 kg (11-20 lbs)

Of course, weight gain during pregnancy cannot be avoided. But it’s important to understand how much weight you should gain, why your body is gaining weight, and what happens after your baby arrives.

So how much weight should a woman gain during pregnancy? Before she got pregnant, it all depends on her body mass index (BMI). [BMI calculation]


According to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), women considered underweight should aim to gain 28 to 40 pounds. (12.7 to 18.1 kg); Women with a normal BMI should aim to gain 25-35 pounds.

(11.3 to 15.9 kg); Women in the overweight category should aim to gain 15-25 pounds. (6.8 to 11.3 kg); Women in the obese category should aim to gain 11-20 pounds. (5.0 to 9.1 kg). (For women pregnant with twins, the recommended weight gain is higher.)

And a weight gain of 25 to 35 pounds. For those with a normal BMI, it may sound like a lot – sure, newborn babies aren’t that heavy – those extra pounds serve a purpose.

As shown in the infographic below, gestational pounds also arise from the placenta, the growing uterus and growing breasts, and an increase in blood and fluid volume in a woman’s body. And yes, the added fat weighs too.

In addition, some studies suggest that gaining too much weight during pregnancy increases the chances of cacesareanelivery, the review says. (Although C-sections are generally considered safe, they carry additional risks compared to vaginal births.

For example, C-sections are a major surgical procedure, and having a C-section in the first birth may result in a C-section. – section on future deliveries.)

According to the IOM, one of the main reasons women limit their weight gain during pregnancy is to reduce the risks to their baby’s health.


A 2015 review published in The Endocrinology and Metabolism Expert Review found that gaining too much weight during pregnancy increases the chances of a baby gaining birth weight, putting them at risk for obesity and metabolic syndrome. more likely to be exposed.

(Metabolic syndrome is a combination of medical problems such as high blood pressure, large waist circumference, and low levels of “good” cholesterol.)

Finally, gaining too much weight during pregnancy may also be associated with preeclampsia, write the authors.

Preeclampsia is a serious complication that can develop during pregnancy when women have both high blood pressure and excessive protein levels in their urine. Both mother and baby can be at risk.

However, the amount of weight a woman gains should not be spread evenly over the trimesters of pregnancy. The IOM advises women to gain between 1.1 and 4.4 pounds. (0.5–2 kg) early pregnancy.

After that, in both the second and third trimesters of pregnancy, women are advised to increase by 0.5-1 lb (0.23-0.45 kg) per week, depending on their pre-pregnancy BMI.

The IOM recommends that underweight and normal-weight women gain 1 lb per week and overweight women gain 0.6 lbs during these pregnancies. (0.27 kg) per week, and obese women gain 0.5 pounds. weekly. [Holding a Baby | Stages of Pregnancy]


However, an important point to expect women to keep in mind is that the amount of weight gained during pregnancy is related to the amount of weight lost thereafter.

“Weight gain during pregnancy is the single greatest predictor of postpartum weight maintenance,” said Dr. Yasinda Niklas, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and lead author of the 2015 review.

Oken agreed. “Pregnancy weight gain is the biggest contributor to postpartum weight maintenance,” she told “Women who gain within the recommended weight range during pregnancy lose less weight and are more likely to return to their pre-pregnancy baseline.”

However, despite the risks associated with gaining too much weight during pregnancy, 40-60% of women gain more weight than guidelines recommend.

To keep weight gain within healthy limits, women should certainly not “eat for two,” experts say. Women need to have “close to zero extra calories in the first trimester,” Rasmussen said.

“The body makes a lot of immediate changes [in the first trimester] in response to pregnancy, but these changes don’t require a lot of calories,” Rasmussen told Still, she said much of the “excess” that women experience occurs in that first trimester.

In fact, despite recommendations for women to minimize weight during the first trimester, in practice, this is often the trimester when excessive weight gain (weight gain above recommended levels) occurs. Studies have shown that


“Women don’t need to be over a few pounds for the entire first trimester,” Oken said. And doing so can have negative consequences. “It’s becoming increasingly clear that excess weight gain in early pregnancy can be predictive of later weight maintenance and heart health, not just for the mother, but for the baby,” she said.

In a 2015 study published in The American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Oken found that weight gain in the first trimester was more strongly associated with weight maintenance 7 years postpartum than weight gain in the second or third trimester.

I discovered that Also, excessive early pregnancy weight gain was associated with higher post-pregnancy BP than late or late pregnancy weight gain.

Why is it important to gain weight within recommended guidelines during pregnancy?

The excess weight gained over the recommended amount during pregnancy is primarily fat (at this point in pregnancy the weight is very for less) researchers.

Unlike fluids and lean tissue, this fat gain is likely to be more difficult to lose after pregnancy, researchers say. [Physical changes during pregnancy]

“In the first trimester, it can be a challenge not to earn too quickly,” Oken said. For example, women who experience very common fatigue early in pregnancy may be overeating.

Other women may experience nausea that can be helped by snacking, she said.


“In some cases, women may think, ‘Well, now that I’m pregnant, I expect to gain weight, so I don’t have to think too much about what I’m eating,'” Oken says.

I was. It’s these women that doctors want to specifically educate about healthy weight gain during pregnancy, she added.

But she says otherwise, “Many women don’t see an OB [obstetrician] until the end of their first trimester, so they need to get the word out,” Oken said.

To keep their weight within guidelines, Oken recommends that women focus on eating nutrient-dense foods such as fruits, dairy, and nuts, and especially avoid “empty” calories and extra desserts. increase.

Pregnant women should also avoid drinking calories in sugary drinks and instead drink plenty of water as thirst symptoms (such as fatigue and irritability) can be mistaken for hunger. . [how to gain weight during pregnancy, healthy way]

But women don’t have to beat themselves up if they deviate from their healthy eating days.

Pregnancy can be stressful, and the emphasis on perfection causes unnecessary worries during pregnancy, says Catherine Tallmadge, R.D.N. and contributor for Live Science.


It’s okay to indulge once in a while, but it’s still important to be smart about pretending like that to avoid overplaying,

So when mothers treat themselves, they should try smaller doses or stay on the healthier side of the “treatment,” she said. For example, if you want pizza, buy vegetables, she said. [How to deal with stress ]

Overweight women shouldn’t be discouraged because everyone gains weight at different rates, Nicklaus said. If you gain too many women early in your pregnancy, you should try to slow down your weight gain rate as your pregnancy progresses, she said. Women with a BMI over 35 before conception may not need to gain weight during pregnancy, she said.

But doctors don’t recommend women intentionally try to lose weight during pregnancy, added Nicklas.

We have a baby! So?

After giving birth, the last thing most likely to be on a new mom’s mind is dieting. And that’s fine, according to Cheryl Lovelady, a nutrition professor at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

“I tell mommy, ‘The first month, don’t worry about your weight,'” Lovelady said.


Of course, just by giving birth, a woman immediately loses some of her pregnancy weight: the weight of the baby, the placenta, the amniotic fluid, and so on.


And in the next few weeks, women can also expect to lose the weight of the excess fluid in their bodies that they accumulated during pregnancy. After the water is gone, the excess fat that a woman added during pregnancy remains.

According to Lovelady, women should be able to shed the extra pounds by six months after giving birth.

“We recommend losing about a pound a week,” Lovelady told But in reality, women are more likely to lose weight initially, she said, and the weight loss slows down as they get closer to their goals.

Ultimately, that weight loss will be pounds of fat as opposed to fluid, she added, even though it might be just a pound a month. [2016 Best Bathroom Scale]

Not all experts agree that you have to drop all the weight within six months. However, 12 months seems to be the upper limit for how long it takes a woman to lose all her pregnancy weight.

That is, women who started with a normal BMI before pregnancy should aim to return to a normal BMI, while women who were overweight or obese before pregnancy should return to their pre-pregnancy weight and continue to lose weight when possible. Aim. Nicklaus said.

Nicklaus added that current research suggests that women who don’t lose weight within this time frame are at greater risk of maintaining their weight over the long term.


“I recommend that women see a doctor if they are having trouble losing weight,” she said. “Many women may need an evidence-based diet or weight loss program structure to reduce pregnancy weight.”

Experts say it’s also important for women to lose weight before they get pregnant again.

“Ideally, women are at a healthy weight by the time they enter their second pregnancy,” said Paige van der Prig, a researcher at the Center for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research at Deakin University in Australia. . However, “the period between two pregnancies is variable, and about 50% of pregnancies are unplanned, so timing weight loss can be difficult,” she said.

“But research shows us that it is possible,” she added.

Postprandial physical activity and postpartum

Aside from breastfeeding (discussed below), losing baby weight isn’t any different than losing weight at any other point in life, according to experts who spoke with [The best way to lose weight safely]

“For those trying to lose weight, there is evidence that both nutrition and physical activity play an important role in the weight loss process,” said van der Prigg. “For postpartum women, this is no different.”

In fact, in a 2013 review of research on the topic published in the journal Obesity Reviews, van der Pligt found, “Overall, there is only one program targeting a strategy that combines nutrition and physical activity. more effective than focused programs.” “Programs that include individualized support are also important,” she said.


In the review, van der Pligt and her colleagues reviewed data from 11 studies that focused on postpartum weight loss interventions. The review found that seven studies included effective interventions to help women maintain weight after pregnancy, six of which included both dietary and physical activity components.

However, the authors concluded that the ‘optimal setting, implementation, duration of intervention, and recruitment approach for the most effective intervention remains unclear.

Is diet, exercise, or both best for postpartum weight?

A 2013 meta-analysis published in the journal Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews reached similar conclusions. Looking at data from 14 studies, the authors found that ‘diet combined with exercise or diet alone appears to help with postnatal weight loss compared with usual care,’ but more research is needed. I discovered something.

Van der Pligt emphasized that “diet and exercise” do not mean that women should go on extreme diets or start training for marathons. Some research suggests that making small changes can help you lose gestational pounds.

For example, in the Active Mothers, Postpartum trial that enrolled 450 overweight and obese postpartum women, cutting out junk food and being less sedentary was associated with postpartum weight loss.

(The study’s author, Lovelady, noted that these results were specific to overweight and obese women. Women who started at a normal weight and gained within guidelines were typically more likely to maintain their weight after delivery. No problem, she said.)

Overall, post-pregnancy women should be able to eat healthy to lose weight, Lovelady said. Diets like Weight Watchers, the Mediterranean diet, and a vegetarian diet can all be good options, she said. [Mediterranean Diet: Foods, Benefits, Risks]


In addition, another small Swedish study found that 68 overweight or obese women, all breastfeeding, had the greatest impact on postpartum weight loss with dietary changes.

Beginning at 10 to 14 weeks postpartum, women were randomly divided into four groups for a 12-week intervention. One group was counseled on their diet, another on diet and exercise, and another on exercise alone.

A fourth group received no advice and served as a control group for comparison. The study found that women in the diet-only group not only lost the most weight but were the only group to continue to lose weight after nine months.

The study’s author, Rasmussen, noted that the dietary changes the women made were not that great. The intervention focused on cutting out junk food, eating more vegetables, and ultimately reducing the total number of calories women consume, she told

(One limitation of the study, however, was that the exercise component was not a significant change from the amount of physical activity the women were getting before the study began, Rasmussen said. It doesn’t represent a significant increase in consumption, she said.)

“I can tell you, the diet works,” Rasmussen said. For weight loss, she recommends a diet that emphasizes nutrient-rich calories and avoids empty calories. [Diet and weight loss: the best way to eat]

Diet appears to be the driving factor for losing baby weight, and while exercise doesn’t have a big impact on weight loss, experts say it’s still important for new moms to get back on track as soon as possible. I agree with you.


This is an easy way to get new moms moving.

Yes, the days when women were confined to bed rest after giving birth are long gone. Sure, a woman needs to take care of herself and recover from her birth, but it’s important for her to move, Rasmussen said.

“Most women, whether they’re giving birth vaginally or have a C-section, can start walking soon after giving birth,” Nicklas said. But women interested in doing more vigorous activities, such as lifting weights, should ask their OB when they can start, she added.

Every expert we spoke to agreed: Walking is a great way for new moms to get some exercise. [2016 Best Pedometer]

Walking during the postpartum period has been shown to have excellent health benefits, van der Prig said. Plus, it’s convenient, cheap, and can be an important social activity for new moms, she added. [How to resume exercise after pregnancy]

For example, in one of Lovelady’s studies, women started a walking program four weeks after giving birth and gradually progressed to walking for 45 minutes a day, five days a week.

The women in the study had been mostly sedentary over the past three months, she added. Moderate exercise during pregnancy is considered safe and healthy for most women.

Reducing inactivity is also important. In a 2007 study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, researchers examined the effects of television viewing, walking, and lean fat intake on postpartum weight maintenance.


They found that women who watched less than two hours of television a day walked for at least 30 minutes a day, and limited their consumption of trans fat had a reduced chance of retaining at least 11 pounds. (5 kg) 1 year after delivery.

Researchers know that physical activity alone doesn’t appear to cause weight loss, but regular exercise, combined with a healthy diet, can help maintain any weight loss that occurs, the study said. Oken, the lead author, said.


All interviewed experts agreed that diet and exercise strategies for postpartum weight loss are not different from strategies adopted for weight loss at any other time in life after birth. But women have one unique advantage: feeding. [Breastfeeding Basics: Tips for Nursing Mothers]

For example, in Rasmussen’s 2008 study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers found that “breastfeeding can also make a significant contribution and eliminate [6 months of postpartum weight retention] in many women.” concluded.

(Nicklas may feel heavier on a full stomach, but it doesn’t contribute much to a lactating woman’s weight.)

Indeed, there are several factors involved in whether breastfeeding affects weight loss. This includes the focus and duration of breastfeeding for women, Rasmussen said. But generally speaking, the more a woman breastfeeds, the more impact it has on weight loss, she said.

Simply put, breastfeeding burns calories. The body needs extra energy to make milk. (But this may not be the full explanation, Rasmussen said. Researchers have yet to test whether other factors also contribute to the weight loss associated with breastfeeding, she said. Said.)


The best way to lose weight after pregnancy:

The caloric requirements of lactating women are higher than those of non-lactating women. Exclusively breastfeeding women consume about 500 extra calories a day compared to non-breastfeeding women, said Lovelady.

But generally, breastfeeding women are instructed to increase their caloric intake by about 330 calories each day, she said. The resulting deficit contributes to weight loss.

In other words, calorie recommendations for breastfeeding women don’t fully cover the amount needed to produce milk, Rasmussen said. Researchers assume that some of that calorie cost is met by burning body fat, she said.

So, for women who are reasonably active and have gained a moderate amount of weight during pregnancy, breastfeeding is very important, Rasmussen said. “But you can undo it all by overeating,” she added.

Still, between diet, exercise, and breastfeeding, Rasmussen says breastfeeding takes precedence as the most important factor in whether a woman loses all her pregnancy weight.

“You have to realize there are two players here: the mother and the baby,” Rasmussen said. “So the best approach for mothers and babies together is for mothers to breastfeed first. ‘The babies get the best nutrition we have to offer.’ If she wants to lose weight, she can either eat or exercise or do both,” Rasmussen said.

However, researchers have not reached a consensus about the effect of breastfeeding on weight loss.


“This has been looked at in many studies, and we still don’t have a definitive answer as to the role of breastfeeding in postpartum weight loss,” said Nicklaus. But, she added, there’s a slightly greater chance that breastfeeding can help when all the studies are considered.

But to reassure women who can’t or choose not to breastfeed, Nicklaus pointed out that breastfeeding isn’t essential for weight loss.

Van der Pligt agreed. Many women lose weight while breastfeeding, but many studies show little or no effect of breastfeeding on maternal weight changes, she said.

“So I don’t think women lose weight just because they’re breastfeeding,” said van der Prigg. It’s about promoting healthy, attainable lifestyle behaviors that have health benefits for women and help them achieve a healthy weight after giving birth.

This post was last modified on November 21, 2022 8:34 am

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