Most women shed around 13 pounds after giving birth, whether they delivered vaginally or via C-section.
After nine months of a growing belly and having your body not quite feel like your own, you’re ready to reclaim some normalcy — starting, perhaps, with getting back into your old jeans. So what do you have to do to get there, and how long will it take?
While many of us wish we could magically lose all those extra pregnancy pounds the moment baby finally arrives, the fact is no one — not even celebs! — snaps right back to her pre-baby body so quickly.
There are lots of things you can do to get into shape again. But it’s really important to give yourself a break: Your body just birthed another being. Things moved around, stretched and grew to make that happen.
So rather than focusing on “getting your body back” (it actually didn’t go anywhere!), put your efforts towards creating a healthy, happy, and — possibly slightly differently-shaped — you. Here’s how to do just that.
How much weight do you lose after giving birth?
Most women shed around 13 pounds after giving birth, whether they delivered vaginally or via C-section. The majority of that comes, of course, from your baby — since most new bundles weigh between 5 ½ and 8 ¾ pounds.
The rest of that initial weight loss comes from delivering the placenta and the loss of the amniotic fluids that surrounded your baby in the womb. You may lose a little more during that first week postpartum simply by shedding retained fluids. (If it feels like you’re peeing and sweating more than usual, that’s why!)
Considering that women of average weight should gain between 25 and 35 pounds during pregnancy, this loss is healthy start. But it’s not everything, of course. Your body is still holding onto extra weight from the fat stores you gained over the course of your pregnancy, which won’t disappear so quickly.
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And even if you are close to your pre-pregnancy weight shortly after giving birth, your body will still likely look a little different than what you’re used to. As your uterus shrinks back down to its pre-pregnancy size (which usually takes about six weeks), your stomach will still appear round and swollen.
How long does it take to lose weight after pregnancy?
Many women who gained the recommended amount of weight during pregnancy find they’re able to return to their old weight within six months to a year after giving birth — which experts say is a reasonable goal.
But that’s just an estimate, and ultimately, everyone’s timeline is unique. If you gained more than the recommended amount of weight during your pregnancy, for instance, it could take extra time — from 10 months to two years — to bounce back.
Keep in mind, too, that even once you reach that familiar number on the scale, your body might not look exactly as it did. Some women notice that their belly is softer, their hips are wider or their breasts are smaller (particularly if they breast-fed) after having a baby.
And that’s more than okay. It’s amazing! All these changes are the result of the incredible physical feat of growing your child and bringing her into the world — and they deserve to be celebrated.
Does breastfeeding help you lose weight?
It can. Your body burns between 400 and 500 calories per day making breast milk, which come from your diet as well as the fat you stored during pregnancy. That calorie-burning boost is enough to help some moms get back to their pre-pregnancy weight without doing much else.
Breastfeeding also stimulates the release of hormones that help shrink your uterus and your post-baby belly.
Even so, breastfeeding isn’t a guaranteed ticket back to your pre-baby body, and you shouldn’t necessarily look at it that way. In fact, many moms find that they eat more than usual while breastfeeding because they’re so much hungrier, which in turn means they hold onto that last five to 10 pounds of baby weight.
That amped-up appetite is completely normal — your body needs more calories to fuel your milk production. What’s more, ignoring your appetite or deliberately trying to cut back too much on your food intake could potentially put a damper on your milk supply. Moms often find that they shed those last few pounds once they stop nursing and their appetites return to normal. Just be sure you don’t continue to eat the extra 400 to 500 calories a day after you’re finished breastfeeding.
If breastfeeding alone isn’t enough to help you return to your old weight, experts agree that it’s safe to adjust your food intake and exercise to try to lose up to 1 ½ pounds per week. But steer clear of crash diets that promise faster weight loss — they could affect how much milk you produce.
What foods should be in your post-baby diet?
Since your body needs ample rest and nutrition to recover from delivery, fend off infection and feed your baby, you shouldn’t even think about dieting until your baby is at least 6 weeks old or older — no matter how anxious you are to squeeze back into your pre-pregnancy clothes.
Once you feel ready to start a post-baby diet and you’ve gotten the okay from your doctor, make sure you’re still eating enough calories. Crash dieting isn’t just risky for you: If you’re breastfeeding and don’t eat enough calories, your body ends up producing less milk — which means your hungry, growing baby goes on a diet with you.
What’s more, burning fat too quickly (more than 1 ½ pounds per week) can trigger the release of toxins that end up in breast milk and can cause your body to lose water and lean tissue. Even if you’re not nursing, eating too few calories can make your body think you’re starving. This confusion can actually slow down your metabolism, making it harder to shed those extra pounds in the long run.
Remember, if you’re nursing, your calorie needs are even greater during the first six months after delivery than they were during the last trimester of pregnancy. Your doctor can help determine exactly how many calories you should be eating, since the number will vary depending on your BMI before pregnancy and your activity level.
To put things into perspective, the average woman needs about 2,000 calories a day, and breastfeeding women should tack on an extra 400 to 500 calories to maintain their current weight.
To lose a pound, though, you need to create a calorie deficit of 3,500 calories per week, or 500 calories fewer per day, by eating less or exercising more — which means the average breastfeeding woman would be back at 2,000 calories per day to lose about a pound a week.
Whether you’re breastfeeding or not, when choosing foods to support your weight loss, you can stick with the same healthy eating principles you followed during your pregnancy: Fill up on wholesome, nutrient-dense picks that will keep you satisfied and limit the empty-calorie snacks. Strive to have moderate portions of foods like:
- Fruits and vegetables. Fresh or frozen are both great choices, so take your pick.
- Whole grains. Think oatmeal, whole wheat bread or pasta, brown rice or quinoa.
- Lean protein. Low-mercury fish and shellfish, poultry, lean red meat, eggs, tofu and beans or legumes are all good choices.
- Low-fat dairy. Try plain yogurt, milk, cheese or cottage cheese.
- Healthy fats. Think nuts, seeds, avocado or olive oil.
When can you start exercising after giving birth?
Getting moving can help support your weight loss efforts and give you a much-needed energy boost. So it’s worth saying yes to working out when your body feels ready.
It’s fine to start engaging in light exercise a few days after birth if you exercised before pregnancy and had an uncomplicated vaginal delivery. If you had a C-section or experienced complications during birth, you may need to wait at least six weeks before resuming physical activity. But it’s best to get the official go-ahead from your doctor before getting started.
In either case, keep in mind that just because you’re cleared for exercise doesn’t mean you have to start right away. If you feel like you need a little more time, there’s no rush.
When you do start exercising, aim to move for 20 to 30 minutes a day, broken up into shorter chunks if need be. Start with exercises designed to strengthen your weakened core muscles and back like modified crunches, or light aerobic activity like walking. You can gradually up the intensity as you feel ready, but never exercise to the point of exhaustion.
Tips to help you stay healthy after giving birth
Sure, you might be excited to get back into your old clothes. But broadening your focus from weight loss to making healthy choices will help you get back into shape without the pressure. These tips can help you stay on track:
- Team up. Support is a must for maintaining healthy habits with a baby — so get your partner on board. Take a walk instead of watching TV after dinner, and make a commitment to choosing healthier foods together. Take turns prepping healthy meals while the other watches the baby instead of ordering takeout.
- Keep healthy snacks handy. Those need-to-eat-now feelings can come out of nowhere, especially if you’re breastfeeding. Having wholesome nibbles within grabbing distance — think fresh fruit, nuts, plain yogurt or sliced veggies with hummus — means you’ll be less tempted to reach for the half-eaten ice cream pint at the back of the freezer.
- Find activities you love. Hate slogging it on the treadmill? Don’t do it. You’ll be more likely to stick with workouts for the long haul if you enjoy them.
- Don’t discount the small stuff. Squeeze even a little extra activity into your daily routine. Every step counts, so don’t discount the little things: You’d be amazed by how many calories you’ll burn from a number of everyday activities.
- Don’t be all or nothing. Everyone deserves a treat now and then, especially new moms. Try to eat healthy 80 percent of the time, but don’t deprive yourself of that cookie or ice cream cone when you’re really in the mood.
- Stay positive. Focus on what you’ve accomplished so far and the weight you’ve already lost, and remember that fitness is about more than the number you see on the scale.
Above all, give yourself the same patience and grace you’d give a close friend who was in your shoes. Remember that it took you nine months to gain the weight, so it’s completely normal for it to take that long to lose it (or even longer — you’ve got a baby to care for now!)Even more important, don’t forget that you created a fabulous human being who adores you — all of you. So instead of staring at your tummy, take a peek at your beautiful baby and cut yourself some slack.
Why Am I Gaining Weight After C Section
Most pregnant women are curious about how much weight they will lose after giving birth. After all, it is a major life event and you’re probably anxious to get back to your pre-pregnancy body as soon as possible. Postpartum weight loss can vary from woman to woman due to several different factors, including your baby weight and how much you gain weight during pregnancy.
According to Baby Center, it is normal for women who gave birth vaginally to lose about a pound approx 10 in their first two weeks after giving birth. Women who have cesarean deliveries tend to lose more weight in the first few weeks. Generally, pre-pregnancy weight is reached within six months after delivery. For overweight and obese women, it is advisable to lose weight before conceiving. Also, breastfeeding can help you to lose weight faster due to the high amount of calories in breast milk.
To make the weight loss process easier, there are several things you may want to do to prepare for postnatal weight loss. It is recommended that you eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly before pregnancy so that your body can be ready for childbirth. But it is is a common question that pregnant women ask themselves – how much weight will they lose after giving birth? In this blog, we will discuss the average amount of weight lost after childbirth and some tips on how to speed up your post-birth weight loss.
In This Article
- How much weight loss you do after birth?
- How much weight do you lose after C-section?
- Do you instantly lose weight after birth?
How Much Weight Loss You Do After Birth?
In the postpartum period after birth, women can lose as much as 20 pounds (9kg), although this varies widely among women. Many factors, including age and obesity before pregnancy, play a role in how much weight you lose after birth. Most women lose an average weight of around 13 pounds (6 kg) when they give birth. This is usually from the weight of the baby, the amniotic fluid, and the placenta. Postpartum weight retention is the return of the weight that was lost during pregnancy. Weight retention can be influenced by many factors, including genetics, metabolism, eating habits, physical activity level, and breastfeeding status.
Additionally, weight gain in pregnancy for obese women is significantly less than the weight gain in normal-weight women. Though losing weight after pregnancy may seem extremely difficult for most mothers, it is possible to do so through healthy eating and exercise. Pregnancy-related weight gain consists of fat, water, and weight from the baby. Once you give birth, your body goes through many changes to return to its original state before pregnancy. Women need to maintain a healthy weight following pregnancy when they are no longer breastfeeding their child or estranging themselves from their child’s significant other.
Furthermore, eating healthy foods or lean protein from various sources can help promote weight loss after giving birth to a child. Women should also partake in cardiovascular exercise regularly or perform an aerobic activity for at least 30 minutes three times per week. Aerobic activity is anything that increases your breathing and heart rate, such as walking, jogging, swimming, biking, or dancing. Moreover, in pregnancy, your fat cells stored more fat than usual, and after giving birth those cells take time to shrink back to their original size.
Therefore, postpartum weight loss can be a slow process. People who would like to lose weight more quickly can use a combination of diet and regular exercise together to achieve an effective result. Moms should remember that breastfeeding burns about 300 to 500 calories per day. Breast milk also contains the right amount of vitamins and nutrients for newborns, so breastfeeding should be encouraged over formula feeding to lose weight after pregnancy.
How Much Weight Do You Lose After C-Section?
Cesarean delivery is major abdominal surgery with the associated risks of prolonged recovery, infection, and adhesions. For this reason, women are frequently advised not to attempt weight loss or vigorous exercise for 4-6 weeks after C-section delivery. The reported postoperative weight loss is generally between 10-15 lbs. Many women have attempted to weight loss more quickly after C-section by use of dietary supplements, herbal medications, strenuous exercise, or other means. Unfortunately, several such products and practices are potentially dangerous and may be ineffective.
Although the body mass index of fat women is lower after delivery. Weight loss efforts should be individualized for each woman and should focus on healthy methods such as modest caloric restriction and increased physical activity. Postpartum weight loss in overweight and obese women is very slow, averaging 0.5-0.8 kg/wk in the first 6 months after delivery without a structured weight loss program.
Therefore, to get the pre-pregnancy weight back after C-section, you need to strictly follow professional medical advice and avoid unnecessary practices. From eating healthy snacks to daily routine light exercise, you should make wise or healthy choices. While weight loss after C-section surgery is inevitable, the final number on the scale might be not less than what you expected. So just wait and exercise patience rather than taking risky measures for quick results.
Do You Instantly Lose Weight After Birth?
It depends. During the first few weeks after giving birth, some women lose weight quickly because of the shedding of excess water retention and blood. However, for most women, weight loss tapers off gradually during the following months until they reach their pre-pregnancy weight. Some women find that they don’t lose any weight postpartum, while others may even gain a little bit of weight. Postpartum weight gain is usually caused by a combination of factors such as an increase in body fat, an increase in lean body mass (due to muscle growth), and/or a slowing of metabolism.
If women have an uncomplicated vaginal delivery, they can expect to lose an average weight loss of about 10 pounds (4.5 kilograms) over six weeks or around 2 pounds (1 kilogram) per week. Severe complications such as high blood pressure will delay the return of menses and increase the amount of weight lost after delivery significantly. Though the extra pregnancy pounds can be difficult to part ways with. Also, remember that the weight will come off much faster if you incorporate healthy eating habits and regular physical activity into your daily routine.
Moreover, the weight you lose after birth is mostly water and blood since your body is losing fluids that were stored during pregnancy. You’ll also lose some muscle and bone tissue. But the good news is that most women start to gain back the weight they lost within six months to a year after childbirth. So, losing weight instantly after pregnancy just depends on how quickly your body can flush out the excess fluids.
Tips You Should Remember
For postpartum weight loss after childbirth, there are some guidelines you should follow and they are:
- Refrain from eating too much junk food. Junk food may contain lots of calories that will just put on the pounds again once you have lost them.
- Make sure you are drinking plenty of water, this is not only recommended during pregnancy months but also postpartum months as well.
- Crash diets, postpartum exercise, eating whole grains help you lose weight.
- Exercise should be done 3 times a day, every other year for 30 minutes. This should be enough to burn all the extra calories you eat.
- Breast feeding your baby will help your weight loss postpartum by burning up to 200-300 calories daily depending on whether or not you are pumping.
- Be careful in choosing foods to eat, they should be low in energy and sugar.
- Only water is permitted when fasting, only juice or fruits are okay on certain days when fasting for good postpartum weight loss after childbirth
- Be consistent with exercising until you reach your goal weight and remember that the caloric deficit will determine how fast you lose the weight.
- Do not use essential oils as a secret to losing weight as they may cause harm to your body and maybe toxic if consumed.
- As well as the initial weight loss, you should also follow a workout routine to tone your body. Avoid doing sit-ups as this will just tighten the muscles of your stomach.
- Make sure you do not skip meals as this is what some people usually do expecting for fast results, this will make them weak and hungry thus eating more than what they normally should.
- Low-fat dairy products should be consumed such as milk, yogurt, and cheese.
- Be disciplined when it comes to eating and exercising that is the key to weight loss.
- Avoid expecting too much from yourself by setting realistic goals instead of having a lot of expectations thus not meeting your own standards because you set them too high for yourself to achieve.
- Breast Milk supply will depend on your diet. Eat foods rich in calcium and protein such as dairy products, fruits, vegetables, etc.
- Do not eat too much sugar as it can lead to weight gain and avoid salty food as well.
- Enroll in a weight loss program after childbirth if you feel that you need help from professionals to aid you with your postpartum weight loss journey. They will be able to advise you on the proper thing to do and what to eat.
- Healthy lifestyle habits should be the aim after childbirth weight-loss period.
- Avoid foods with high sodium content such as processed foods, canned foods, and ready-made meals as they may contain a lot of salt which is very bad for your health.
- Postpartum weight loss exercise program should be done with the help of a professional or a registered dietitian to avoid any negative effect on your body.
Furthermore, if you follow these above tips and guidelines on postpartum weight loss after childbirth, you will be able to lose all the excess weight and attain your figure back in no time at all.
Therefore, after giving birth, a woman’s body goes through many changes. While some of these changes are visible, such as the loss of hair and weight, others happen internally and may not be noticeable right away. For most women, however, the majority of the weight lost comes from the baby, placenta, and amniotic fluid. Breastfeeding can also help with weight loss by burning an additional 200-300 calories per day. We hope that this post has given you a good starting point for your own journey to shedding the postpartum weight. A healthy diet and plenty of exercise will help you lose the rest of the weight in a safe and sustainable way. If you’re struggling to lose weight after giving birth, talk to your doctor or midwife about what might be best for you. Remember that it takes time to get back to your pre-pregnancy body, so don’t put too much pressure on yourself. If you have any queries and suggestions feel free to share us through a comment below.