Pregnancy and you blog

Weight loss after pregnancy: Tips from a specialist

By Mary M. Murry, R.N., C.N.M. July 22, 2011

Are you looking forward to getting on the scale after your baby is born? You might hope that you've literally worked your butt off having the baby.

At first, you'll lose weight simply from the delivery of the baby and the placenta — as well as loss of amniotic fluid and blood. Within the next few weeks, you might also lose weight from all the fluid that used to be in your feet and ankles. Then weight loss is likely to slow down. Still, you're not stuck with pregnancy weight gain for life.

It might seem counterintuitive, but to take off those excess pounds it's important to eat regular meals after the baby is born. Even though you might be busier — and more tired — than you bargained for, be careful to eat healthy meals and snacks. It's also important to make conscious choices about what — and how much — you eat. Be aware of what you're eating and really think about it before you pop it in your mouth.

Another important part of pregnancy weight loss is physical activity. You might think I'm crazy to expect you to find time for exercise when you can't find time for sleep — but every bit helps. Make sure you have your health care provider's OK, then start out slowly. You might be surprised by how much better you feel after a 10-minute walk. Add a few minutes to your walk every day. Better yet, invite your partner or other new moms to join you.

Believe it or not, sleep counts in your weight loss plan, too. When you're exhausted, it's harder to feel positive about yourself — and make smart choices about food and exercise.

So get some sleep, think about ways to include physical activity in your daily routine, and be thoughtful about what you eat. Remember, it took an entire pregnancy to gain the weight and it'll take time to lose it. Be kind to yourself in the process.

July 22, 2011