The Healthy Way to Lose Weight After Pregnancy

Fran Majidi
November 2, 2020

Did you just have a baby? Before you even think about losing weight, give yourself six weeks to rest and recover from childbirth. You’ll also want to get the OK from your doctor before starting a post-pregnancy diet and exercise routine. And skip the crash dieting altogether. You want to safely lose the weight you gained during pregnancy. Here are some tips for losing the baby weight in a safe and healthy way.

Be Aware of Calorie Needs During Nursing

If you’re nursing, your calorie needs are greater during the first six months after delivery than they were during the last trimester of pregnancy. Your doctor can help you determine how many calories you should be eating at this time. So don’t be shy about asking for help. Every woman’s body is different so make sure to ask your doctor to help you create a plan that works for you.

The average woman needs about 2,000 calories per day. A breast-feeding needs at least 2500 calories to maintain current weight.

To lose one pound, you’ll need to create a calorie deficit of 3,500 calories per week or 500 calories less per day. And you do this by eating less or exercising more or both. What this means is the typical breast-feeding woman would be back to 2,000 calories per day to lose about a pound a week, which is a good weight loss goal. However, for some women, this may not be enough. If you don’t feel right at that calorie intake, it’s best to speak with your doctor.

Age Plays a Factor in Post-Pregnancy Weight Loss

Are you an older mom? You may have a tougher time losing the baby weight than a young, twentysomething mom would.

Your metabolism slows down by about two percent every decade after the age of 25. So you burn fewer calories when your body is at rest as you get old


Here are some tips for boosting that metabolism. Eat more protein than carbs and eat larger meals earlier in the day. When you do so, your body burns more calories and works more efficiently.

Your activity level matters, too. The more you move the more calories you burn. There also is your natural metabolism to consider, which is determined by your genes. Having good genes can help you have a speedier metabolism. So thank your parents if it is easy for you to drop weight.

Be Patient with Bigger Weight Gains

If you gained more than 35 pounds during pregnancy, it may take 10 months to two years to lose the weight. So be patient and realize it is a process you are going through. Stay consistent with your healthy eating and exercising and the results will come.

Losing Weight While Breastfeeding

Depending on how much milk you produce, breastfeeding can burn more than 500 calories a day. Breastfeeding also stimulates the release of hormones that help to shrink your uterus and your belly. After you stop breastfeeding, your body has less to do, which means it burns fewer calories. You also may notice a loss in appetite, which is your body’s way of putting you on the right track diet-wise.

Get Active after Breastfeeding

After breastfeeding is a good time to boost your activity level. What kinds of exercises would you like to do? A walk around the block is a good way to start. Find an activity that you love such as yoga, swimming, jogging, cycling and fit it into your week.

Before you begin an exercise routine, be sure to get the OK from your doctor. Good nutrition and exercise are the keys to weight loss at any time of life and they work for new mothers, too. It may be tough to lose the last 10 pregnancy pounds but you will look good and feel better doing so. Stock up on healthy foods, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy products, lean meats, poultry and fish. And dump the high-fat and processed foods. Make sure every food that you grab is good for you as a new mother.

The Case for Losing That Pregnancy Weight

Hanging onto too much pregnancy weight can put new moms at risk for heart disease and diabetes. And going into a future pregnancy at a higher weight can put both the mom and the developing baby at risk for medical complications such as gestational diabetes and hypertension. All good reasons to eat healthfully and exercise with your doctor’s OK.

What Is a Normal Weight Gain During Pregnancy?

How much weight a woman should gain during pregnancy depends on her Body Mass Index (BMI) before she got pregnant. Women with a normal BMI should gain 25 to 35 pounds during pregnancy. Where does all that weight go, in addition to the baby? There’s the placenta, the growing uterus, growing breasts, increased blood and fluid volume and stores of fat. All this is healthy and amazing.

Greater Weight Gain During Pregnancy

But gaining too much weight during pregnancy increases the likelihood that the baby will have a high birth weight, which can put the baby at risk for obesity during childhood. So make sure your baby eats healthy, too, and discuss healthy eating habits with his or her doctor. Ask for yourself as well. Momma and baby want to be healthy eaters together.

Between 40 and 60 percent of pregnant women gain more weight than guidelines recommend. A lot of this weight gain occurs in the first trimester of pregnancy, when women don’t need to gain more than a few pounds of weight. Too much weight gain in the first trimester has been linked to high blood pressure after pregnancy,

The excess weight gain in the first trimester is primarily fat and this fat is more difficult to lose after pregnancy. To keep weight within healthy pregnancy guidelines, try eating nutrient-rich foods, such as fruits and vegetables, nuts and dairy products. Drink plenty of water and avoid sugar-sweetened drinks. No one is perfect so it is OK to indulge when eating from time to time. Just stick to a healthy diet overall. One way to stay on track with your diet is by eating vegetables instead of junk food. This switch will help you to reduce calories.

Working Out After a Pregnancy

Once you get the OK from your doctor to exercise, get moving. Walking is a great way to exercise. You can work your way up to walking five days a week in no time. Walk with a friend and you’ll have a nice social time. Getting 30 minutes of exercise on most days is recommended. For more vigorous forms of exercising and weight training, consult your doctor in advance. Exercising several days a week is ideal. Combine your healthy eating with healthy exercising and you’ll be feeling lighter in no time. Good luck with your healthy workout regimen and enjoy being a new mom, take care of yourself. You’ve earned some time away exercising to get you back into your pre-pregnancy shape.

Maintain your Healthcare Plan

Be sure to maintain your healthcare plan after you have your baby. If you don’t have health insurance, having a baby allows you to enroll in a new health plan for you and baby any time of the year. There are all those well-baby checkups you need coverage for, and we can help you save money. And you will want to be in touch with the doctor about your health and nutrition and your new post-baby exercise regimen. So make sure to start shopping for the best health plan by entering your zip code below.

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