Having a baby is a blessing. No matter how difficult or easy you went through your pregnancy be aware that giving birth is a only a beginning: you will need a whole lot of energy and strength you’ve never known you’ve had to look after two precious things: your baby and your body. In this article, I will deal with how to look after your body and surplus weight you’ve gained.
Post-baby weight has both physical and psychological consequences. Pregnancy weight gain leads to a negative body image but also some serious health risks such as hypertension or gestational diabetes. It can eventually trigger depression. A depressive mother is less likely to breastfeed but can also be non-responsive, inconsistent or rejecting of the infant, placing the mother-baby attachment at risk. Ultimately, she can pose a threat to a baby.
Many women are pressured by media to lose weight after seeing celebrities getting back to their pre-baby bodies shortly after birth. Expectations are high on vulnerable mothers and advertising campaigns targeting newly moms exacerbate the whole situation. However, you can do it: Heidi Klum did it four times. The only way to deal with the problem of losing baby fat is a great dedication and patience. Keep in mind that many factors such as body composition, muscle tone, race, eating habits and lifestyle contribute to the baby fat loss.
At giving birth, you will automatically lose the weight of the baby, the amniotic fluid and the placenta. Over the next six weeks, you’ll gradually lose the weight of the extra fluid that’s enlarged your uterus and breasts and boosted your blood volume. In addition, breastfeeding burns as much as 300 to 500 calories per day. If you watch what you eat and exercise, it shouldn’t take you more than a couple of months to get back to your pre-pregnancy weight. And the first 6 weeks don’t count since it is the period your body needs to recover from delivering.
Of course, if you are planning to dramatically cut down calorie intake you need to consult your physician, especially if you are breastfeeding. Having a baby by your side, won’t make going on a diet easier or make you do more exercise. You will need a lot of energy and food is the fuel which makes you do what you as a mum are supposed to do. Follow these few tips on how to look after yourself and lose some weight along the way:
Being hungry while looking after a baby and breastfeeding won’t get you anywhere. You need energy to be a mum so get it for you and your baby from the right food:
- Have a healthy snack such as apple slices, carrot sticks, and wheat crackers at your hand. These will help you raise your energy levels at the moment you need it the most.
- Eat fish such as salmon, sardines, and tuna, which is rich with essential omega-3 fatty acid that helps your newborn develop a healthy brain and nervous system and makes your brain work faster.
- You also need calcium for your bones so have a lot of low-fat milk and dairy products.
- Don’t forget a food rich with protein but low with fat such as lean meat, chicken, and beans.
- Also, drink up. Plenty of water will keep you hydrated and prevent you from eating too much.
Hitting the gym the same day as leaving the hospital with your newborn is as crazy as it sounds. Take the baby steps to get back on track. Check with your doctor before taking up any exercises especially if you had a complicated pregnancy or delivery. Having a short walk with your baby is excellent cardio training. Have at least 150 minutes a week of exercise: a 10 to 15-minute session 2 times a day will do the trick. Once you put it in your daily routine, you can try to increase the work-out period over time. These days many sports clubs offer programs designed for mums who are dealing with the same problem as you are, so join in and share your experience. Doing exercise will also help you relieve stress and will make you sleep better.
Yes, there is another way to get your pre-having-birth body but it is not available or suitable for everyone. One of the fastest growing set of procedures in plastic and cosmetic surgery is Mommy Makeover, which includes several procedures such as tummy tuck and breast lift, performed simultaneously in order to improve a woman’s post-baby body.
However, there are some conditions that need to be met prior to this procedure and when done for beauty purposes this operation is not covered with health insurance so the costs of operation and post-surgery aftercare are high. The treatments are intended for women who are not overweight and who are not planning to have any more children. If you do become pregnant again, a past Mommy Makeover will not threaten your health or that of your child. However, it could reverse the results of your cosmetic treatment. For this reason, many doctors will advise younger women to wait a few years before making the final decision to undergo a Mommy Makeover. And although it can be a quick fix it may not give you back the body you used to have before being pregnant so one should keep her expectations as realistic as possible.
However you decide to deal with your weight, give yourself some time and be patient. It took more than 9 months to gain your weight and it will take more time to lose it.
Pregnancy causes massive biochemical and physical changes in a woman’s body. Things will never be the same and you will have to live with those changes. Your body created and nourished a new human being, and it deserves respect and some additional maintenance in the form of healthy food and exercise, thus, don’t neglect your body. Claiming back your body after the pregnancy might be a long process, but nevertheless a very enjoyable one. You can compare it to the pregnancy itself, you get your reward a bit later. So after all, it pays off in a long run.