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How should I approach weight loss after having a baby?

Heidi Powell
Fitness
Approaching weight loss after having a baby doesn't have to be overwhelming, if you stick to a few simple rules. In this video, fitness expert Heidi Powell shares her tips, including eating whole, natural foods every 3 hours and staying hydrated.

You see A-list moms who can fit into their skinny jeans mere hours after pregnancy, but those cases are extremely rare. The smarter approach is a more patient one. Remember that it took you nine months to add the weight, and a realistic goal is for you to take nine months to drop it. Breastfeeding will speed it up, until the very end -- most women hang on to the last few pounds until they wean their babies. The key here, of course, is to make sure that you have sound nutrition. Any good weight-loss program is not only about the tools but also about your expectations and attitude. Be realistic and make smart choices and you will once again see the inside of your skinny jeans.

Darin K. Winn, MD
Family Medicine

The first step is to stay active. Pushing a stroller around the block for 30-45 minutes per day will help with your energy level and help with weight loss. Any exercise that is fun and relaxing will be much easier to stick with than strict exercise regimens that you don't enjoy. 

Having a baby is one of the big milestones in every woman's life. The best thing you can do to yourself is enjoy the first couple of months and allow yourself to settle in your new life style. In first two months the focus should be on starting a lower caloric and high nutrition diet to recover from delivery.

I normally start my postpartum clients with the stroller walk/jog program. This allows mother and baby have some peaceful time together as well as starting the exercise plan for mom.

As the baby grows bigger we progress to more vigorous stroller jogging. When the baby can take a break from mom we add water aerobics and swimming laps. By the time baby is sleeping overnight and mommy can get longer breaks from her adorable new company we add higher intensity weight training.

The goal is to make the journey stress free and peaceful for both baby and mother.


Having a baby is a very exciting time for new mothers, but it is also a time of huge changes. One of the biggest chages we notice is that our bodies are no longer the same. When beginning a workout program after having a baby the first step is to wait at least 6 weeks after the baby is born and make sure your doctor has cleared you for exercise.

The next step is to set realistic goals. When I got pregnant with my son I had put on 70lbs! After he was born I had about 55 lbs to lose. I gave myself a year to lose the weight and then another 6 months to actually get in shape. So set yourself a goal you know you can obtain.

The next step is to approach exercise gradually. Start off slow. Your whole body has been through 9 months of stretching this way and growing that way, and your muscles have had to take on new roles to accomodate your changing body. Now that the baby is born you can take the time to re-teach your muscles how to function efficiently and effectively, giving you optimum results. Workout in a progressive manner. Stabilize your muscles, then work on endurance and then work on strength.

Approach exercising as  time for yourself, as a break or as a way to get out of the house. Find things you enjoy doing and just start moving again. Once you begin to gain endurance and strength then you can take your workouts to the next level.

Just remember to be gentle with yourself and give yourself time to lose weight and get back in shape. Start off slow and build from there!

 

Exercise and a healthy diet are the two components which will help you lose your baby weight.  It is important to get your doctor's consent to resume exercise after childbirth.  You can start by doing some gentle postpartum exercises and walking.  I usually recommend that my clients wait until they are 6 weeks postpartum to resume more vigorous exercise.  It is important to build up your exercise regime slowly because postpartum women have a higher chance of injury.   Also, avoid crunches or sit-ups which can exacerbate any diastasis you have after pregnancy.  Focus on making healthy food choices.  If breastfeeding, it is important to not decrease your calories too low and accept that most women do not lose all of their baby weight until after their children stop nursing.  If you are having trouble following a healthy diet, you can consult a dietician for specific guidelines.  Focusing on health rather than stressing about getting your pre-baby body back will help you enjoy your postpartum phase. You may even find that your body looks better than before you gave birth.

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
You may see A-list moms who can fit in their skinny jeans a mere hours after pregnancy, and you think that you should be able to drop baby weight just like that, but those cases are extremely rare. The smarter approach is to take the patient approach. Remember that it took you nine months to add the weight, and a realistic goal is for you to take nine months to drop it (breastfeeding will speed it up, until the very end - most women hang on to the last few pounds until they wean). The key here is, of course, to make sure that you have sound nutrition. Any good weight-loss program isn't just about the tools, but also about your expectations and attitude. Be realistic, make smart choices, and you will once again see the inside of your skinny jeans.
YOU: Having a Baby: The Owner's Manual to a Happy and Healthy Pregnancy

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.