Losing weight after pregnancy is not easy, even for breastfeeding mothers. But if you keep an eye on the five most important steps, you will reach your goal.
For most women, losing weight after pregnancy is a topic of anxiety with many unanswered questions. Does breastfeeding make you slim? Will I ever look like I did before I was pregnant again? What and especially how much should I eat after the birth of my child?
Those who stick to the following five steps against baby pounds will – with a little patience, but above all in a healthy manner – find their way back to their feel-good weight.
Weight loss after pregnancy
The good news first: As a new mother, you have already lost weight before you put your baby on for the first breastfeeding. With childbirth, the woman loses between five and seven kilograms. The baby weighs an average of 3.3 kilos, the placenta is half a kilo, the amniotic fluid is 1.5 kilos, the lost blood weighs around 300 grams and various water retentions also recede.
But since most women gain plus/minus 15 kilograms during pregnancy, it is all too often clear, despite the pounds lost immediately: losing weight after pregnancy is a must.
Lose weight after childbirth with these 5 steps
Step 1: breastfeeding
It’s no old wives’ tale: Breastfeeding can help you lose weight after pregnancy. However, the effect that breastfeeding has on each character is completely individual. For some women, the baby pounds just melt away through breastfeeding. Hardly anything happens to others.
But if something happens, an effect only becomes apparent after three to four months – so, as always with the subject of losing weight, patience is required.
Step 2: Recovery
The first active step when it comes to losing weight after pregnancy is the postnatal course. Here the pelvic floor is trained, the regression of the uterus is supported and the muscles are specifically stressed for the first time. As a rule, you wait about six weeks after the birth before attending a postnatal course. Women who have had a cesarean section should give their bodies a little longer rest: up to 12 weeks.
Talk to your midwife or doctor about whether you are already fit enough for the course, regardless of whether it is a natural birth or a cesarean section.
Step 3: Exercise
Sport is probably the topic with the most uncertainty when it comes to losing weight after pregnancy. This is simply because it is not possible to generalize which woman can tolerate which stress and when after childbirth.
However, three rules of thumb always apply to sports after pregnancy:
- If you are unsure, ask your doctor
- What went before, goes (in moderation) afterward
- Better safe than sorry
Anyone who has rested for the first few weeks after the birth often really wants to work themselves out again. After a conversation with the doctor, the first uncertainties should also be cleared up. Then the following applies: Rely on sports that your body already knows, instead of trying out new things. Our muscles develop a memory when it comes to movement sequences, and especially when they are still weak, they prefer to fall back on what they know. Also, be patient, and please do not try to build on past achievements.
High-impact sports such as jogging, which put a lot of strain on the pelvic floor and joints, should only be pursued by very experienced athletes to lose weight after pregnancy and always in consultation with a specialist. It doesn’t matter how trained you were before the pregnancy: any sports where you can get punches, kicks, or shoves (judo, boxing, soccer, handball, etc.) should not be practiced in the first nine months after birth.
Moderate sports such as swimming or cycling are perfect for losing weight after pregnancy. Endurance training boosts the metabolism and fat burning and is therefore not only suitable for clearing your head, but also for losing weight after pregnancy.
What many women don’t have on their radar: Classic strength training is a valuable support in the fight against baby pounds. Muscle uses more energy than any other body tissue and not only accelerates fat loss but also increases basal metabolic rate. The more muscle you have, the higher the basal metabolic rate and the more calories your body burns at rest. However, before you go to the weights, please talk to your doctor.
Step 4: Nutrition
First of all: No diet is suitable for losing weight after pregnancy. Changing your diet towards healthy, fresh foods is okay. But above all, if you are breastfeeding, make sure that you always eat enough balanced food to be able to provide your child with all the necessary nutrients. During a diet, a lack of folic acid, iron, vitamins, and minerals quickly develops – everything your baby needs now.
What helps all moms lose weight after pregnancy are three things:
- Cut out snacks
- Freshly prepared food
- Regular meals
Of course, once the baby is here, the world is upside down. That’s exactly what makes losing weight after pregnancy so difficult: There simply isn’t enough time to prepare healthy meals and then eat them throughout the day. That’s why many new mothers reach for ready meals and snack on muesli bars, chocolate, or crisps in between.
What can help: Replace all snacks with fruit and vegetables. Also, look for dishes that can be prepared in just a few minutes or that can be cooked alone in the oven, for example. A fried egg on whole wheat toast doesn’t take much longer than a packet of soup, but it’s a lot more nutritious. Sweet potatoes, for example, cook all by themselves with a little oil, cumin, and herbs in the oven.