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Healthy, Happy Post-Pregnancy

By: Darleth Romana-Bantiles, MDHealthy, Happy Post-Pregnancy

Georgia (not her real name), is excited to go on a summer outing with her 8-month old daughter. Because it is the first family out-of-town trip, she wants it to be very memorable and picture perfect. She even bought twinning maxi dresses that they could don in the beach. What is stressing her though is the swimming outfit she could wear.  After retaining some bulges on her tummy and hips, she cannot even fit into her shorts anymore.

Does this sound familiar? Pregnancy will lead a woman to gain around 25 - 35 pounds of weight. Half of this may be gone gradually, a few days after childbirth. In fact, delivery is the surest way to rapidly lose weight, compared with any popular diet. Imagine, shedding around 6 kilograms overnight! However, if a new mom gained even more than the usual, getting back to the pre-pregnancy weight may be tougher. It may take around six weeks, to as long as two years. But no woman is excused from taking care of herself, especially her body, after childbirth. Personally, I believe that it is important for a new mom to remember that she cannot give what she does not have; and for her baby to be healthy, a mother needs to see to it that she has a healthy weight (the slim figure may only be a bonus!).

Tackling the weight without exercise

Worrying about workouts is premature when you have just given birth. Also, doing too much, too soon, will just be discouraging and you may have the tendency to keep the pregnancy weight even more. Experts say that it will take at least six weeks, before a new mom’s body may be able to tolerate mild exertions. Moreover, the protruding belly is partly caused by the still-enlarged uterus, excess fluid that needs to be flushed out, and the stretched-out abdominal muscles and skin. Thus, it may be helpful to have other strategies on your sleeve when it comes to shedding the excess pounds:

1. Breastfeed – This is not only the best for your baby, but deciding to be a breast milk provider will also help you burn more fats. Should you have cravings for foods with extra calories, around 500 – 700 of it may be utilized for milk production.

2. Eat healthy – When you do this, your tendency will be to eat more nutrient-dense but low-calorie meals. The great thing is that the body has a tendency to self-regulate, when more whole grains, vegetables, and fruits are consumed. This tip, I personally subscribe to. It is a slow, but steady way to lose weight. I swear that you will look like a single woman, when you shift your grains or bread to brown rice or whole grains, instead of white rice and processed flour!

3. Group with others – Team with other moms who desire to be fit and healthy. You can rally each other in disciplining yourself to a better diet and lifestyle.

4. Nap – Yes, this “exercise” may be a bit elusive, especially during the first few months after giving birth. But, sleeping or having adequate rest periods will discourage binge eating or consumption of high-calorie meals to sustain a high energy requirement.

Sweat it out for good

Walking is a good start when it comes to exercising after six months (especially if the weighing scale has not budged by this time). Then, it could be modified by taking your baby in a stroller during the “workout”. Eventually, other routines may be added, as post-partum recovery and healing is achieved. While it may be exhausting enough to take care of a baby and do other chores at home, toning the muscles and skin that sagged may require routines for your cores. Exercise may also curb post-partum depression as it increases “happy hormones” in the body. Just a special precaution, when working out, do not overdo it. Stop even before you feel tired. Breast milk quality may be affected by overexertion; and if burning calories is too abrupt, toxins may be produced that could harm a latching baby.

If you should exercise at all, do not forget that it can also give you a natural high! Exercising should make you feel good in the long run. Workout routines should not be extra work that may leave a new mom, exhausted and frustrated.

Patience is also a virtue that will come in handy at this time, not only in dealing with a clingy newborn or a precocious toddler, but also in handling the paunchy silhouette. Because the weight gain was gradual, shedding the excess may also take some time.

At the end of the day, let the quest for weight loss not only be so as to look fabulous. The goal to get fit and healthy may be more effective, to sustain a new mom in her efforts to shed the fat! 

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