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Losing baby weight

Are you searching for your pre-pregnancy figure? We share advice on healthy diet and exercise suitable for losing baby weight after pregnancy.
One of the qualms most women have with new motherhood is loss of their pre-baby figure. Unfortunately most of us aren't back to flat-stomached svelteness for at least a few months after baby arrives despite what we see in the media. Celebs seem to make it look so easy, shrinking to minute proportions a matter of days after giving birth with not a stretch mark or baby belly in sight, something that's much easier to achieve with a crew of nannies, nutritionists and fitness gurus on call i'm sure!

Realistically its going to take a while to get to get back to your pre-baby size but when you consider that it took the best part of 9 months to put the weight on, this isn't that surprising. Many doctors recommend waiting until your 6 week check up before commencing any kind of strenuous exercise especially if you've had a cesarean. This will allow your body time to heal and recuperate from the birthing experience (which is a huge ordeal when you think about it). That said, it is advisable to begin practicing your pelvic floor exercises and taking gentle walks before this.

Exercise

Once you've been given the ok by your doctor you should try to step up your 'exercise regime' to include approximately an hours walk a day and 3 -5 x 20 minutes of physical activity a week. This can seem impossible to juggle with baby in tow but walks can be broken up into shorter strolls out and about with your little one and other activities can be slotted in whist baby naps, is in your partners care or is happy on a play mat or baby chair.

You don't need to start training for a marathon straight away especially if you're new to exercise. Its important not to overdo it as while moderate exercise will help to give you more energy as you tone up, excessive exercise (especially if you're not used to it) will just leave you feeling exhausted. Starting slowly and building your fitness gradually is the best approach.

Its important to enjoy the exercise you do as you're more likely to stick with it especially once you start seeing results. Combining cardio exercise that gets your heart rate going (such as swimming or running) with toning activities (such as weights or yoga) will help you get the best overall results and will make sure you don't get bored. Having an exercise buddy can really help to keep you motivated too as working out becomes more of a social activity.

Regular exercise will give you the best results for shaping up after having a baby and will also help you to cope with the demands of looking after a small child both physically and mentally and will better your overall health. If you're not a gym bunny there are lots of other ways you can incorporate some physical activity into your (and your baby's) routine...
  • Take your baby out walking or running in the pushchair
  • Put your baby in a sling and have a boogie, do some lunges or just carry him or her as you go about your daily chores
  • Get an exercise video and work out at home; these come in every exercise type possible and some are specifically designed for toning up after giving birth
  • Find a postnatal exercise class near you; these are great places to meet other parents and tone up at the same time
  • Take a new class whether it be salsa, yoga or aerobics - make sure you tell the instructor you've recently had a baby though
  • Go swimming as this is a great all over exerciser and toner. Its best to wait at least 6 weeks before taking a dip so as to minimise chances of infection
Diet

During pregnancy you share all the nutrients you consume with your baby and it takes a few months to replenish your stores after giving birth. For this reason its important not to diet too soon after your baby arrives, instead its better to focus on eating sensibly. This is especially the case if you're breastfeeding as this burns up to 500 calories a day and you're still nutrient sharing with your baby. Having a balanced diet including lots of fruit, vegetables and complex carbs (such as brown rice, pasta and bread) and drinking lots of water will help you to lose weight without depriving your body of anything it needs.

It can be difficult to eat healthily when caring for a small child and comfort foods can be incredibly tempting especially when you're suffering from a lack of sleep. Eating small, regular meals and including healthy snacks between is a good approach as this will ensure you don't go hungry and get a steady supply of energy. You should aim for steady weight loss of roughly 1 lb a week for long term results.

In all honesty once you've had a baby some parts of you will never be the same but rather than being frustrated by this you should just look upon it as a reminder as the gorgeous baby you've given birth to. In the meantime combining a balanced diet with moderate exercise is the best way to lose excess baby weight and achieve the body you're happy with.

Do you have any tips for beating the baby bulge? Share your advice and experiences with us in the AskBaby Forums

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