5 things you should know about post-baby weight loss
We all know that Shakira’s hips don’t lie, and when those hips are part of a voluptuous, healthy post-baby figure wearing a bikini, it sparks hope in the hearts and bellies of all new mums who want to be at their healthiest and happiest again.
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Weight gain is fairly inevitable during pregnancy, but it’s also fairly common to want your figure back after your baby is born. And there is no need to think that this is unachievable. You just pushed a small human out of you; you’re a super woman after all.
So celebrities aside, what is a realistic time frame for fitting back into your old clothes? Is there a difference between baby weight and regular weight? Should you be changing your diet and exercise regime after the birth or just go back to what you were doing pre-baby? As you can imagine, these things often vary for woman to woman but there are some general facts that you should know before embarking on your post-baby weight loss mission.
Post baby weight loss fact #1- It takes time
Despite what some supermodels may have us believe, it’s not very realistic to give birth and then be strutting your stuff in a bikini a week later. Woman who get their figure back instantly are rare. For most it takes months to get rid of the baby belly and for some it may never go away entirely. A realistic time frame to aim for when trying to lose your baby weight should be no shorter than nine months. It took your body nine months to stretch and accommodate for a full-term baby so you should allow at least the same amount of time for it to go back to normal.
Post baby weight loss fact #2- It’s not just fat
According to babycenter.com “even though your baby is out, you may still have a round, squishy midsection that makes you look like you're six months pregnant.” This is due to the extra fluid retained by your body during pregnancy and the expansion of your uterus. It takes six to eight weeks for your uterus to return to its normal size and the extra fluid is slowly “eliminated from your body through urine, vaginal secretions and sweat.”
Post baby weight loss fact #3- Breastfeeding helps
It is safe to lose weight while breastfeeding and according to kidspot.com breastfeeding burns around 2000 kilojoules (500 calories) a day. Nursing can also trigger contractions that help to shrink the uterus. While a healthy diet with a balance of important nutrients is essential while breastfeeding, The Australian Breastfeeding Association explains that, “a loss of up to around half a kilo per week is safe for breastfeeding mothers.”
Post baby weight loss fact #4- The rules for weight loss are the same
There’s just no way around it. In order to lose weight long term you have to eat a healthy balanced diet and exercise regularly. There’s no permanent quick fix for post-baby weight loss, just the same as regular weight loss. The only difference with post-pregnancy weight is that you should wait at least six weeks before even thinking about calories and cardio – your body needs time to recover from labour and the birth. Once you do feel up to exercising, start with gentle exercises like walking and yoga. Considering the main area of weight gain and expansion was your belly you should also add stomach muscle exercises to your regime.
Post baby weight loss fact #5- You can exercise without leaving your baby
One of the main reasons new mums struggle to lose their baby belly is finding the time to be away from their newborn, which only gets harder once baby number two, three and four arrives. But you mustn’t give up hope! Simply walking or running with your little one in a pram is a great way to fit exercise into your daily routine. There’s also Bababoogie, a newly released fitness DVD that allows mothers to exercise while their baby is safely strapped to them in a harness. The program includes a series of fitness routines for Mum, with cartoons and music played alongside to keep baby entertained.
Do you think it’s possible to get your figure back after having a baby? What are your tips for post-baby weight loss?