Losing weight after childbirth need not be a painstaking process. Besides following the rules that everyone already knows, such as drinking plenty of water and maintaining a healthy diet, it is necessary to practice physical activities regularly. And you can reconcile them with your mother’s routine with a few minutes a day.
After nine months of expectations and plans, the mood should be one of pure joy: there is nothing more pleasurable than the arrival of a baby in the family. New mothers, however, find themselves trapped in a great mix of happiness, insecurity, fear of things to come, and dissatisfaction with the changes the body undergoes during pregnancy.
The despair is great and the reasons are easy to understand: mothers need to deal with the discoveries of motherhood, devote all their time to the care of the baby and do not recognize themselves in the body that they see in the mirror.
There has been an increase in the amount of fat, cellulite that did not exist before began to appear and the sagging belly seems impossible to reverse. Losing weight after childbirth is almost a must – but most moms don’t even know where to start.
Changes in body and maternity responsibilities lead to worrying data: About one in four Brazilians has symptoms of postpartum depression, according to a study by the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation that surveyed more than 20,000 women between 6 and 18 months after the birth of your children.
This leads to two common reactions (involving a woman’s body): either mom do their best to get back to their pre-pregnancy forms as quickly as possible or settle down with the new routine and end up gaining even more weight.
The second option, of course, is not recommended. A survey in Canada showed that the ideal time to lose those extra kilos gained during pregnancy is between three to 12 months after delivery. Women who do not lose weight or gain weight during this period are at risk of developing serious health problems such as hypertension, diabetes and heart disease.
If you are a mother and find yourself trapped in some of the above situations, don’t despair – weight gain during pregnancy is completely normal. Losing weight after childbirth and getting back to the body before pregnancy is possible, although many people say otherwise.
Where does weight gain in pregnancy come from?
It is surprising to think that the baby is the sole cause of the extra pounds during pregnancy.
There are many factors involved in gestational weight gain and the mother’s age is one of them. A study by the International Journal of Obesity showed that women under the age of 20 and over 40 are more likely to have a greater weight gain compared to those who became pregnant between the above period.
In addition, the book Nutritional Epidemiology reports that pregnancy and the postpartum period lead women to greater exposure to factors that can trigger obesity.
The reason why new moms accumulate fat is not yet completely clear, but one hypothesis, presented in an article published by the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, is that women accumulate energy reserves necessary to supply fasting periods. prolonged in both pregnancy and lactation.
In addition to fat accumulation, weight gain during pregnancy also includes other factors: women experience an enlarged uterus, breast enlargement, and an expansion of blood volume. This accounts for ⅔ of total weight gain, according to the Institute of Medicine.
The baby represents, on average, 25% of the accumulated weight during pregnancy. The placenta and amniotic fluid are responsible for the remaining pounds. Soon after delivery, the weight added here is already discounted on the scale.
In the following days and weeks, the body eliminates the rest of the accumulated fluids during gestation, bringing the plasma volume back to normal.
Finally, at six weeks, weight retained is attributed to body fat acquired during pregnancy and breast tissue that expands due to breastfeeding.
What is the recommended weight gain during pregnancy?
Doubt is common and information is often controversial.
Recommendations for gestational weight gain have changed over the decades and were designed to support the growth of the baby and to preserve the mother’s health before and after birth, resulting in pregnancy without risks and complications.
In the 1970s, the weight gain recommended by the National Academy of Sciences was 9 to 11 pounds during the nine months of pregnancy. As early as 1983, the first edition of the Guidelines for Perinatal Care (Prenatal Care Reference Book) had a weight gain of 10 to 12 pounds as ideal for pregnant women.
The tendency to raise the recommended value was motivated by concerns about the weight and health of babies. Today, the average prescribed weight is 11 to 14 pounds, as presented by the National Maternal and Infant Health Survey.
However, the American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists Nutrition Committee has stated that the instructions are not recommended for malnourished and overweight or obese women. In the first case, pregnant women can gain a higher average weight. In the second, they must follow a controlled diet to avoid health complications.
Why is it so hard to lose weight after pregnancy?
The International Journal of Obesity pointed to discouraging data for moms: women weigh, on average, within a year after delivery, between 1.5 and 6 kg more than they weighed before pregnancy.
Why does this happen? The answer is simple: most of the time, it is because future moms get fatter than recommended during the nine months of pregnancy.
This was proven in a study published in the Oxford Academic. Researchers concluded that weight gain during pregnancy is the major determinant of postpartum weight retention. In addition, the eating habits followed by the mother after the baby is born also influence to a large extent.
This was also presented in a Cambridge University study: Women who increased their food intake during or after pregnancy, especially in the first 6 months after delivery, were more likely to maintain at least 5 pounds more a year when compared to women who maintained their food intake during the period.
Dietary impulses that occur during pregnancy have also been studied by the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. The researchers followed the routine of certain pregnant women and came up with varying results: some women reported that eating problems worsened during pregnancy, while others stated that disorders stop during pregnancy and return postpartum.
There are situations, too, where women make positive changes in diet that persist after the birth of the baby. However, these cases happen to a lesser extent, according to an article published in the Journal of Biobehavioral Medicine .
The study showed that the postpartum period receives less attention in terms of eating, although, like pregnancy, is a phase in which eating behaviors have major consequences for both mother and baby.
It is common to see mothers who, after giving birth, abandon the diet stipulated by professionals and end up gaining a lot of weight. Others, with the goal of losing the pounds gained during pregnancy, end up on super restrictive diets that harm your health and the health of your child.
But how can you lose weight after childbirth?
If you are a mother and find yourself in some of the above situations, be aware that this picture is common and reversible. It is possible to lose your accumulated weight during (or after) pregnancy in a healthy and safe manner, without harming you or your baby.
Check out the best ways to lose weight after giving birth and get back the body you had before pregnancy.
– Know how to wait
Take it easy, Mom! Take your time to lose the weight you have gained during pregnancy and do not fall into the illusion that you can lose extra pounds at a moment’s notice. The process is time-consuming and requires patience and effort.
Nothing moves a woman’s body as much as pregnancy and it is completely normal for the body to take a long time to recover. The important thing after childbirth is to devote all your attention to caring for the baby, respecting your own time.
And you can rest assured: The desperate swelling that appears in the abdominal area soon after birth tends to disappear within six weeks, with the elimination of fluid accumulated during pregnancy.
After this period, the difference between your current weight and your pre-pregnancy weight comes from the fats you have accumulated during the nine months. These, yes, you can eliminate.
But the process requires patience and caution – as it is directly linked to your health and the health of your baby. Ideally, you lose your accumulated weight between three and 12 months after delivery, gradually and safely. But don’t worry: in the topics below, you will see how to lose weight after childbirth more simply and quickly.
– Don’t do restrictive diets
The energy you use to perform your daily activities comes from the calories you consume and, in the postpartum period, energy is a detail that can not be missed in your body. Because of this, never go on restrictive diets in the first months after your baby is born – this harms both you and your child.
If you are breastfeeding, you should take even greater care with food, as the process of producing milk and breastfeeding is responsible for burning 300 to 500 calories a day – value that should be added to the diet.
Ideally, new moms do not abruptly decrease their caloric intake and consult a nutritionist to better guide them in the diet to follow.
– Have a balanced diet
Good nutrition is the key for anyone who wants to lose weight and the habit is even more important for women who have just had a pregnancy.
According to an article published in the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals, most women in the postpartum period do not consume the recommended amount of calcium, magnesium, zinc, vitamin B6 and folic acid (present in B complex as vitamin B9). .
The most common causes are two: New mothers stop taking prenatal vitamins and, with the responsibilities a baby brings, focus all their attention on the child and end up eating the wrong way.
Don’t do that, mommy! Your diet is directly linked to milk production, so it needs to be rich in vitamins and minerals for your baby to receive the proper amount of nutrients.
Take calcium as an example: daily, during breastfeeding, about 250 to 350 mg of the mineral is transferred from mother to baby. If it is missing, both are harmed and may be deficient, affecting the child’s development and women’s health. The same goes for the other nutrients (in different amounts, however).
Therefore, it is imperative that mothers have a balanced diet – both to maintain their health and baby and to accelerate weight loss.
Ideally, as mentioned in the topic above, the diet should be stipulated by a professional. Thus, moms will be assured that they are eating properly without the risk of gaining weight or harming their health and the health of their baby.
Good news, Mom: In addition to the many benefits that breastfeeding brings to the baby, the habit also helps the woman to lose weight after giving birth.
This was shown in a study published by the International Journal of Community Medicine and Public Health . The researchers looked at two groups of mothers: those who breastfed for six months after delivery and those who did not breastfeed (or did so on a smaller scale).
The result was positive: the first group was much easier to return to the pre-pregnancy weight when compared to the group of women who did not breastfeed their children. What’s more, the weight difference persisted for two years after delivery.
In addition to the hormonal issue involved during milk production, breastfeeding can burn up to 500 calories a day – the same as an hour of running! Therefore, it is recommended that new mothers increase their caloric intake during the period they are breastfeeding. This does not lead to weight gain and ensures that both baby and mother are nutrient deficient.
Breastfeeding is also linked to the prevention of childhood obesity. A study by The British Medical Journal showed this in hard data: 4.5% of children who were not breastfed developed obesity in early childhood, while 2.8% of those who consumed breast milk presented the condition.
Have you been convinced or still need more reasons to breastfeed, Mom ?!
– Hydrate yourself
Doctors recommend that adults drink two to three liters of water a day. The habit is even more important for breastfeeding women (as dehydration affects milk production ) and for those who wish to lose weight after delivery.
The power of water in weight loss was shown in a long study by the University of Illinois. With the participation of over 18,000 people, the study was divided into four phases and took seven years to complete.
The results were surprising: participants who increased their water intake by only 1% significantly reduced the number of calories, sodium, cholesterol, and sugar they consumed during the day.
The benefits were even greater with those who increased their water consumption by up to three cups: there was a decrease of about 205 calories ingested, 18 grams of sugar and 21 milligrams of cholesterol. But notable was the reduction in sodium consumption: the difference reached 235 milligrams.
In addition, the relationship between water consumption and weight loss has also been shown in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism: 500 ml of water is sufficient to accelerate metabolism by approximately 30%. And an accelerated metabolism, as you already know, favors caloric burning and aids in weight loss.
– Sleep well
It may seem impossible to have a good night’s sleep when you have a newborn at home, but little sleep is one of the factors that make losing weight after childbirth such a complicated process.
A study by King’s College London showed that a bad night’s sleep can result in a higher caloric intake the next day. The average among those surveyed was an increase of 385 calories per day – equivalent to approximately four slices of bread.
The increase in calories ingested is not linked to higher food intake, but to a poor choice of what to put on the plate. The study showed that people who sleep poorly tend to eat high in sugars and fats the next day, lowering their protein intake.
So, those deprived of a good night’s sleep can often end up having permanent changes in their diet and having to deal with the consequences. A low protein diet rich in sugars and fats, as well as contributing to weight gain, is responsible for serious health problems such as the development of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and increased blood pressure.
So the ideal, according to the National Sleep Foundation, is for people between 18 and 64 to sleep for 7 to 9 hours a night. Does that sound like a distant dream, mom? Try to take advantage of the time the baby is sleeping to rest as well. Enlist the help of family and close friends and do not harm your health by lack of sleep.
In addition to weight gain, a bad night’s sleep results in tiredness and lack of energy the next day – all you don’t need when you have a newborn at home.
– Do physical exercises
You know that Mom: Exercise is the fastest, most effective and safest way to lose weight. The technique is foolproof – there is no fat that can withstand a few minutes of regular physical activity.
The habit is even more important for moms who want to lose weight after giving birth. A study published in the American College of Sports Medicine showed that the benefits of exercising after pregnancy extend far beyond calorie burning.
Exercise improves cardiovascular capacity, enhances a sense of well-being and enhances fitness – and disposition is all moms need after a baby is born. Those responsible for the research also guarantee: activities do not affect milk production.
In addition, maintaining an active life after pregnancy also brings psychological benefits: Habit is responsible for decreasing anxiety symptoms and postpartum depression rates, according to a study by the University of Birmingham.
And the benefits do not stop there. A Cambridge University survey looked at how parental exercise affects the lives of their children and found that when parents have an active life, their children are 10 percent more likely to be. Children see the adults around them as great examples and tend to follow their habits.
Quite a responsibility, huh, Mom?
How to reconcile physical exercise with a mother’s life?
Time to spare is luxury in the life of those who have just had a pregnancy. Newborns demand constant attention, the responsibilities of motherhood seem endless, and women devote their entire day to caring for the baby.
But you need some time to take care of yourself, Mom! Exercise is the key to fast and healthy weight loss after delivery and the benefits, as you saw above, go far beyond the loss of measures.
Motherhood is one of the most important stages in a woman’s life and you need to be in top shape (both physically and psychologically) to enjoy it to the best of your ability.
“But how do I find time to work out?” Is what most moms question. The concern is valid: with the rush of everyday life, it seems impossible to stop for an hour and attend a gym. Fortunately, keeping an active life no longer has to be such a complicated and time-consuming process!