Losing Weight Postpartum

Mar 03, 2011 No Comments by

Though childbirth produces more rapid weight loss than any diet you’ll find on the bestseller lists (an average of 12 pounds overnight), most women don’t find it quite rapid enough. Particularly after they catch a glimpse of their paunchy postpartum profiles in the mirror.

The fact is, no one come out of the delivery room looking much slimmer than when they went in. Part of the reason for that protruding postpartum abdomen is your still-enlarged uterus, which will be reduced to prepregnancy size by the end of six weeks, reducing your girth in the process. Another reason for your belly bloat might be left over fluids, which should be flushing out soon. But the rest of the problem lies in those stretched-out abdominal muscles and skin, which will likely take some effort to tone up.

As hard as it might be to put it out of your mind, don’t even think about the shape your body’s in during the first six weeks postpartum, especially if you’re breastfeeding. This is a recovery period, during which ample nutrition (and rest) is important for both energy and resistance to infection. Sticking to a healthy postpartum diet should start you on the way to slow, steady weight loss. If, after six weeks, you aren’t losing any weight, you can start cutting back somewhat on calories. If you’re nursing, don’t go overboard. Eating too few calories can reduce milk production, and burning fat too quickly can release toxins into he blood, which can end up in your breast milk. If you’re not nursing, you can go on a sensible, well-balanced weight-loss diet six weeks postpartum.

Some women find that the extra pounds melt off while they’re breastfeeding; others are dismayed to find the scale doesn’t budge. If the latter turns out to be the case with you, don’t despair; you’ll be able to shed any remaining excess poundage once you’ve weaned your baby.

How quickly you return to your prepregnant weight will also depend on how many pounds you put on during pregnancy. If you didn’t gain much more than 25 to 35 pounds, you’ll likely be able to pack away those pregnancy jeans in a few months, without strenuous dieting. If you gained 35 or more pounds, you may find it takes more effort and more  time—anywhere from 10 months to 2 years—to return to prepregnancy weight and your skinny jeans.

Either way, give yourself a break—and give yourself some time. Remember, it took you nine months to gain that pregnancy weight, and it may take at least that long to take it off.


After The Baby Is Born, Postpartum:The First 6 Weeks
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