How hard is it to lose weight after having a baby?

July 24, 2011

This is a guest post by Olivia.

Weight gain is, perhaps unfortunately, something that is often focused on during pregnancy. Expectant mothers frequently worry about how much weight they are gaining, whether it is too much or too little. And perhaps for the first time in her life, a pregnant woman’s weight is not a taboo subject but an acceptable topic of small talk. All pregnant women gain weight, and many have that infamous postpartum belly after they give birth. How hard is it to lose weight after having a baby?

[easyazon-image-link asin="B002QG0KHE" alt="Denise Austin - Bounce Back After Baby - Exercise/Weight Loss DVD" src="" align="left" width="90" height="160"]

We often see celebrities posing with their newborns looking great, without that belly. They don’t hear “when are you due?” months after they become a mother, do they? But is that possible for “ordinary mortals”? The answer is yes. Women can and do end up back at their pre-pregnancy weight without a personal trainer and lots of exercise sometimes. At the same time, others are bigger than before they had a baby. Some women find it very hard to lose weight in the postpartum period, while others are actually losing it too quickly!

When I gave birth to my first baby, I was back at the weight I had when I was trying to get pregnant when she was a day old. I still had more belly fat than I enjoyed looking at, though, and the skin was a bit loose too. The skin extra fat was gone at around seven months postpartum. With my second baby, I was actually thinner right after he was born than I was when I found out I was expecting, and there was no extra skin (or new stretch marks) either. My friend, who lost the weight she gained while she was nursing her first baby as soon as she got pregnant a second time, once again noticed weight gain when her new baby was born – not because she was eating too much or the wrong foods, but because of what turned out to be a thyroid problem.

The moral of these stories is that postpartum weight loss is a highly individual process. There are many things we can do to lose weight, like exercising regularly, eating well, and even breastfeeding – which burns 200 to 500 calories a day. But is weight loss really something we want to stress about after we just had a baby? We can be more gentle on ourselves by accepting that our bodies all recover from pregnancy in different ways, and by focusing on our health, an active lifestyle, and dressing nicely rather than on weight loss itself. Give yourself time, and your body will get into a new, post-pregnancy swing.

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