In the case of some women, losing weight before the next baby is essential to avoiding unnecessary risks of pregnancy and delivery.
If you are hanging onto previous postpartum weight, you’re not alone. In fact, most women who have had a baby cannot lose those last few postpartum pounds. Generally, a woman retains 2.5 to 5 pounds, but in many cases, more.
There are three points on which to focus that will help you lose weight before getting pregnant again.
If you did not breastfeed the first time, consider doing so after this pregnancy to help expedite weight loss. Many women choose to breastfeed to lose weight after their baby is born. Though we cannot assume that breastfeeding alone will help you drop weight, studies have shown that it does help. Why? Breastfeeding burns calories. The body makes milk, which requires extra calories. Producing milk burns an extra 500 calories a day — which is equal to running at a 6 mph pace on a treadmill for 45 minutes.
However, when breastfeeding, you should still only stick to the recommended 330 extra calories a day. Don’t overeat and undo the “breastfeeding workout.”
Diet and Exercise
Studies have shown that diet alone — or exercise alone — won’t help you drop the weight. Extreme dieting, especially when breastfeeding, is not recommended. The following are lifestyle changes that will result in weight loss:
- Low Impact Exercises. If you have never worked out, you can start by walking or swimming. These low impact activities for 45 minutes a day can help you drop weight safely. You can continue to do these activities during a normal pregnancy. Also, you can start walking soon after you have a baby, whether you deliver vaginally or via c-section. If you can’t join a gym and the weather is decent, bundle up your little one for a 45-minute walk, five days a week.
- Cook at Home. Start cooking healthy meals at home — these days, it’s easier than ever. Services deliver food to your home if you are too busy to shop, and all you do is cook it. The Internet is user-friendly for finding healthy recipes for crockpots, instapots and more. Plenty of ideas exist even for the novice cook.
- Find a Friend. Accountability from a friend can help. If you don’t know anyone who works out, join a local gym with a childcare area so you can focus on yourself for an hour. Join a class and meet someone who will push you to go to the class weekly.
- Perfect your Portions. If you choose to diet, adopt a healthy diet program that focuses on portions and healthy foods, instead of extreme elimination diets.
Weight Gain During Pregnancy
It’s a proven fact that women who gain too much weight during pregnancy have a lower amount of weight loss after the pregnancy. Even though that fact is known, 40 to 60 percent of women still gain more than the recommended weight gain guidelines.
The motto “eating for two” doesn’t exist during pregnancy in the number of calories needed. In the first trimester, you do not need any extra calories, and only a few hundred extra calories (not meals) at the end of pregnancy.
It’s not easy to lose weight when you are hoping to get pregnant, but it’s time to take care of you, for your baby. The weight goal for any woman should be a healthy weight before their next pregnancy. Start your journey to a new you, say goodbye to some risks of pregnancy, and say hello to a healthy life.