Managing Post Pregnancy Weight Gain
March 11, 2014
A fitness blogger who posted a flat-stomach selfie 4 days after giving birth sparked significant controversy. Some moms were offended by it, saying her atypical post-pregnancy body could damage readers.
However your post-pregnancy body turns out, it’s likely you won’t feel ready to post a selfie 4 days after birth. And that’s okay.
But, it’s natural to want to reach a healthy weight as quickly as possible. Here’s all you need to know about managing post-pregnancy weight gain
Pregnancy Weight Gain: What’s Normal?
Gaining some weight during pregnancy is healthy and unavoidable, but you might wonder how much weight gain is normal.
According to WebMD, a woman of average weight should gain 25 to 35 pounds during pregnancy. An overweight woman should gain around 15 to 25 pounds, and an underweight woman could gain 28 to 40 pounds.
Remember you don’t need to eat twice as much when you’re pregnant. You’re feeding a baby, not a full grown adult, so you’ll need to add about 300 calories a day from healthy foods.
Post-Pregnancy Weight Loss Timeline
This is what a typical post-pregnancy weight loss timeline looks like:
- Immediately after birth: Initial weight loss differs for each woman. A baby typically weighs about 8 pounds, and that’s not including the weight of the amniotic fluid, placenta, enlarged uterus, breast tissue, blood supply, and additional stored fat that is normal during pregnancy. You will lose some of this weight initially, but it takes time to lose all the extra weight.
- 6 weeks postpartum: Many women lose about half their baby weight by this time.
- About 9 months: This is considered a healthy timeline to lose all your post-pregnancy weight. For some women, it may take less or more time.
How to Lose Post-Pregnancy Weight
Just like other body changes you’ll experience, it’s normal to carry a little more weight after giving birth. It’s also normal to feel tired and emotional, which could make weight loss difficult at first.
Here are some tips to help you lose that extra weight so you can become a happy, healthy mom:
- Breastfeed. Believe it or not, breastfeeding could help you lose weight by burning calories. But, you don’t want to lose weight too quickly while breastfeeding, because you don’t want to affect your milk supply.
- Eat Right. A healthy eating lifestyle provides enough calories and nutrients to support you and your baby. Eat nutritious foods like fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats, and drink lots of water (rather than other beverages). Stick to a normal meal rhythm, including breakfast. Slowly and surely, you will lose the weight.
- Walk. You probably won’t be ready to go back to a difficult workout program right away. Instead, try going on walks with your new baby. You can burn about 100 calories per mile walking.
- Tone Your Tummy. During pregnancy, ab muscles stretch and separate to make room for the uterus. If ab muscles are still separated postpartum, crunches could harm rather than help. Instead, tone your stomach by sitting or standing up straight and drawing your belly button toward your spine. Holding your baby in front of you with both arms and pulling your belly in also improves posture.
- Exercise with Baby. Even if you need to hold your baby for much of the day, you can still do some simple exercises. One mom reported holding and lifting her baby for squats and arm lifts, and another mom reported having a regular dance party with her baby.
Managing Post-Pregnancy Weight Gain
Remember, it’s typically not healthy to lose pregnancy weight all at once. To lose weight the healthy way (and to keep it off for good) invest in a healthy eating and exercise plan that will help you lose the weight slowly.
Everyone loses post-pregnancy weight at different rates. But, if you maintain a healthy lifestyle, you should be able to lose your post-pregnancy weight within the same amount of time it took you to gain it.
Like the blogger who posted the controversial post-pregnancy selfie has stated: “The most important thing is to be kind to your body. It’s a positive thing to have a few extra [pounds] on your body after birth.”
-  “Gain Weight Safely During Your Pregnancy.”
-  “Losing Weight After Pregnancy.”
-  “Pregnancy Weight Gain: What to Expect.”
-  “Calories Burned While Walking.”
-  Rachel Rabkin Pechman. “How to Lose Baby Weight.”
-  Lauren Gelman. “Lose the Baby Weight for Good: 18 Real Moms Tell You How.”
-  Lizzie Edmonds. “Footballer’s wife sparks outrage in Norway after posting picture of her perfect flat stomach just four days after giving birth.”