The recommended weight gain (in) after pregnancy is dependent on a person’s Body Mass Index. The body mass index is a person’s average weight in relation to height and this gives an indication of the health status of an individual. According to the U.S Institute of Medicine, for a woman with normal weight (BMI 18.5-24.9) recommended weight gain is about 11.5 to 16kg and this value is higher for a woman expecting twins. This weight gain is to ensure the health of the mother and the baby all through pregnancy.
During delivery, depending on the weight of the baby, placenta, and amniotic fluid, you can lose up to 5kg. Getting your shape back after pregnancy and birth, however, can be challenging. You have a new baby who has altered your sleep pattern making you tired most of the time, you are breastfeeding and probably get hungry faster and you have all these hormones still raging but you still need to lose this weight as its necessary for good health and you also like to get back in shape soon.
Many mothers wonder how soon they can start to lose weight and recover their shape after pregnancy. The first 6 weeks following the delivery of a baby are known as the Postpartum period and are very critical for a woman’s health. Many changes occur at this time including the return of the hormone levels and size of the uterus to the normal non-pregnant state, healing from the rigors of delivery, and adjustment to motherhood.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists guidelines recommend that physical activity can resume as soon as one feels physically and medically fit although this should be done in moderation to avoid compromising the health of the baby. Physical exercise which relieves stress can also be helpful for postpartum depression. Dieting, on the other hand, should not be considered until the baby is at least 6 weeks.
7 AMAZING TIPS TO GET BACK IN SHAPE AFTER PREGNANCY INCLUDE;
- Set realistic weight loss and shape recovery goals: Weight loss of target of about 0.5 to 1 kg per week ensures that fat is burnt off. During the first few weeks, excess fluid gained during pregnancy is lost and then fat. Returning to one’s pre-pregnancy weight after delivery takes about 6 months to 1 year. Also note that depending on your genetics, your shape may take a longer time to recover, for instance, your belly may hang for a while and should be patiently and consistently worked on.
- Ride the breastfeeding wave to weight loss: Breastfeeding provides nutrition and supports the baby’s immune system. It also burns about 200 to 500 calories per day, exclusive breastfeeding being more energy demanding than when you are doing mixed feeding. Burning these calories does not automatically lead to weight loss but calories ingested can be titrated to ensure that calories expended are more than those ingested
- Eat a balanced diet: Balanced diet supplies all the necessary macro and micronutrients in adequate proportion. Processed foods and trans fats which supply unnecessary calories should be avoided especially when trying to regain one’s shape after pregnancy. It is best to eat small healthy meals than large heavy meals. Food rich in fiber and proteins is really good for weight loss.
- Avoid crash diets: Getting back in shape after pregnancy is best when it is done gradually. When done too aggressively, it takes a longer time to recover your shape as lost weight is recovered easily. Crash diets immediately after delivery for breastfeeding mothers are not encouraged as they can affect milk supply and some nutrients necessary for the healthy growth of the baby can be lost when dieting and this can affect the baby’s health.
- Drink a lot of water is key to shape recovery after pregnancy: A study done on obese women showed a significant weight loss after drinking water 3 times daily before breakfast, lunch, and dinner for 8 weeks. Water promotes body metabolism and this is key for weight loss. Water also helps to wash off toxins in the body, keep the body hydrated, and refreshed.
- Ensure your calorie intake is less than expenditure.: Like any other weight loss regimen, losing weight after pregnancy depends on the balance between energy intake and energy expenditure. Calories taken in must be less that number expended to lose weight. As such, calories should be monitored closely.
- Exercise: The best way to recover one’s shape after pregnancy is a combination of diet and exercise. In addition to burning calories, exercise also improves the feeling of wellbeing by releasing endorphins, improves energy level, and reduces stress levels. Walking, jogging swimming, yoga are good examples of exercise for weight loss after pregnancy. Breastfeeding mothers should feed babies before exercise to avoid pressure associated with breast engorgement and potential problems associated with increased acidity because of lactic acid build up in the milk after very intense exercise. Wear a supportive bra, and use breast pads to absorb breastmilk leakage. It is best to choose a warm-up routine before a higher intensity workout.