losing-weight-post-pregnancy-250-x-166 Many women worry about their bodies after having a baby. Pregnancy and labor can pay a huge toll on the mother, and staying on top of your health can sometimes seem impossible!

Doctors recommend women at healthy weight gain 25-35 pounds during pregnancy to maintain the baby’s health. However, many women gain more weight during pregnancy. [1]

The struggle to lose weight after giving birth should always be secondary to maintaining the health of the mother and baby, but thankfully there are simple ways to handle post-pregnancy weight.

Take Your Time

Doctors recommend mothers wait at least 6 weeks after having a baby before actively trying to lose weight. Aim to lose a pound and a half per week by making small changes in diet and exercise. At that rate, you can lose the baby weight about 6 months after delivery. [2]

Remember, you lost about 10 pounds immediately after birth. The baby itself weighed 7-8 pounds, plus two pounds of various fluids. In the first week, you’ll lose another 3-5 pounds of water weight. The rest of the weight will come off more slowly and will take determination and effort. [3]

Focus on Nutrition

Rather than dieting, make sure to get enough of your daily nutrients. You need to be especially careful about getting enough calories if you’re breastfeeding. Your body burns 20 calories to make just one ounce of breast milk. The 19-30 ounces your baby eats each day burn an extra 300-600 calories. [4]

Follow the recommended nutrition guidance as closely as possible. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, include a healthy dose of fiber, and don’t skip healthy whole-grain starches. Keep fats and sugars to a minimum. To keep your appetite satisfied, eat more small meals throughout the day. [5]

Stay Hydrated

New moms need to drink at least 8 glasses of water or other liquids each day. Keep a water bottle nearby and drink whenever you are thirsty. Avoid sugary and caffeinated drinks. Sugar hinders your weight loss efforts and caffeine can enter your breast milk and interfere with your baby’s sleep patterns. [6]

Get Your Heart Rate Up

Even before pregnancy, your body needed exercise to stay in shape. Once you feel up to it, increase your activity. You’ll already have a lot on your plate just taking care of your new baby, but try to set aside time for an activity you enjoy. Also, a brisk walk with the stroller creates a fun outing for your baby and an exercise outlet for you. [7]

Increase Muscle

Boosting muscle mass increases metabolism, so you’ll be burning fat even at rest. Experts have found 10 pounds of muscle burns 50 calories per day at rest, while 10 pounds of fat burns 20 calories. [8]

Most women struggle getting rid of extra belly fat. The outermost abdominal muscles separate to make room for the uterus, and after birth, they often stay separated.

The best way to tone your tummy is to engage the deepest abdominal muscle, the transverse abdominus. It is located under the obliques and wraps around your spine. To exercise the muscle, sit up straight and pull the belly button in toward the spine. [9]

Rest Up

You know more than anyone how tiring having a baby can be. You might not be able to sleep a full 8 hours every night with a baby crying for you at all hours, but try to sneak in extra naps during the day.

Studies show women who sleep 5 hours or fewer keep their pregnancy weight longer than women who get 7 hours of sleep or more. Exhaustion tends to make choosing healthy food a bottom priority. Get enough rest so you can make healthy decisions. [1]

What do you think? What did you do after pregnancy to remain healthy? Let us know in the comments!


[1] Watson, Stephanie. “8 Tips for Losing Weight After Pregnancy.” WebMD. Available from: http://www.webmd.com/baby/features/8-tips-for-losing-weight-after-pregnancy

[2] “Losing weight after pregnancy.” MedlinePlus. Available from: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/patientinstructions/000586.htm “Diet for healthy post-baby weight loss.” BabyCenter. Available from: http://www.babycenter.com/0_diet-for-healthy-post-baby-weight-loss_3566.bc?page=1

[3] Jackson-Cannady, Aryen. “The Truth About Your Body After Baby.” Fitness Magazine. Available from: http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/health/lose-baby-weight/new-body/your-body-after-baby/

[4] Kosak, Joy. “Breastfeeding and the Post-Pregnancy Body.” Huffington Post. Available from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/joy-kosak/breastfeeding-and-the-pos_b_4645638.html?utm_hp_ref=healthy-living&ir=Healthy%20Living

[5] “Healthy weight loss after birth.” BabyCentre. Aug 2012. Available from: http://www.babycentre.co.uk/a3566/healthy-weight-loss-after-birth

[6] “Breast-feeding nutrition: Tips for moms.” Mayo Clinic. Available from: http://www.mayoclinic.org/breastfeeding-nutrition/art-20046912

[7] “Four tips for losing baby weight after pregnancy.” WhatToExpect.com. Available from: http://www.whattoexpect.com/first-year/week-20/weight-loss-plan.aspx#

[8] Magee, Elaine. “8 Ways to Burn Calories and Fight Fat.” WebMD. Available from: http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/8-ways-to-burn-calories-and-fight-fat

[9] Rabkin Pechman, Rachel. “How to Lose Baby Weight.” Parenting.com. Available from: http://www.parenting.com/article/how-to-lose-baby-weight