After giving birth to a child it is not easy for a woman to come back to shape. It is a tedious task for a woman to take care of her own body when there is a newborn in the house. Getting adjusted to a new routine and taking care of a child at times become stressful.
It is important to maintain an ideal weight for overall health of the body that will also prepare the body for the next pregnancy.
The weight during pregnancy includes mother’s weight and baby’s weight. The extra weight gained is not required after the newborn is delivered. The healthcare professionals have different criteria of weight gain that depends upon the weight of a woman before pregnancy. Usually there is a gain of 12 to 16 killos during pregnancy.
The recommended weight gain varies for an expectant mother who is underweight, overweight or is carrying more than one baby in their womb. The doctor will determine the recommended weight gain depending on the individual’s body.
The weight gained during pregnancy is due to the weight of the placenta, baby, amniotic fluid, blood, development of tissues in the breast, enlarged uterus and extra fat deposits. The excess fat is beneficial in providing energy for giving birth and feeding the infant.
A good number of pregnant women gain weight more than required. The excess weight of the mother after giving birth increases the chances of obesity, makes the body vulnerable to diabetes and heart disease, can create complications in the next pregnancy such as gestational diabetes.
What is postpartum period?
The period of six weeks after giving birth to a child is called postpartum period. It is important to know the complications that may affect a woman in her postpartum period. The complications if not taken care might result in death.
Complications during postpartum period
Postpartum period is the time after a woman gives birth to a child. The first four weeks after delivering a child affects the mood of the mother and this is called postpartum depression. Increase in BMI and stress are reciprocal in nature.
Postpartum depression due to obesity and overweight is normal and weight gain happens in the third trimester of pregnancy. The adverse effect of obesity during and before pregnancy continues after the child is born. Some of the health risks such as hyper tension, diabetes, high cholesterol and blood clotting occurs in obese women after giving birth.
Some of the post-partum complications such as excessive bleeding, infection, heart disease, depression, problems related to lungs etc might occur after having a baby. All these problems may arise due to obesity or obesity can be a risk factor for development of the mentioned diseases.
Postpartum depression is one of the most common disorders that might be interlinked with obesity. The causes may include-
Changes after pregnancy
Woman’s body changes after a certain period of age. The body undergoes physical changes after pregnancy and these changes take time to heal whereas some changes are permanent. Physical changes such as swelling in the lower limbs, constipation, stretch marks, problems related to urination etc can be resolved by reducing the excess body weight.
The age factor, period of post-partum and the menopause period, all these are the factors contributing to weight gain.
Excess weight gain after pregnancy is linked with weight put on during and before pregnancy. How fit the woman has been throughout her life also affects the weight retained after delivering a child.
It is essential to follow a balanced diet before, during and after pregnancy.
A customized weight loss plan that is tailored according to the individual’s need helps you cultivate good dietary habits and follow a better lifestyle.
Some of the methods to help you reduce postpartum weight are-
Set the reachable goal- The weight gained during pregnancy is not easy to shed after the child is born. If you are aiming to lose weight then make sure to make it a gradual process. Setting the target high will make it seem impossible and also will lower your motivation if you do not achieve the goal.
Avoid dieting- as it will not supply the nutrients required for the body. During dieting the body is deprived of nutrition and after giving birth to a baby the body demands more nutrients. The woman who is breastfeeding needs extra calories and dieting will deprive the body from required calories and nutrients.
Breastfeed- WHO recommends breastfeeding for an initial six months or longer. It benefits both mother and baby. Women who breastfeed have low risk of developing high blood pressure, ovarian cancer etc and also supports weight loss after pregnancy.
Select fibrous food- High fiber food enhances the weight loss process. Soluble fiber slows the digestion process and thus keeps you full for a long period. This will stop you from eating more and thus prevent adding extra calories to your body.
Keep check on what you eat- this will help you decide what to eat and what to avoid. It will also ensure if the body meets the required calories. This helps in making a healthy choice and keeps your portion size in check that will help reduce weight.
Healthy snacks – munching on healthy snacks such as dry fruits, cut fruits etc will fulfill your desire to eat with no extra calories. By keeping such healthy snacks handy it keeps you away from unhealthy foods that will add on to your body weight.
Say no to added sugar, processed food, refined carbs-
Added sugar products and refined carbohydrates such as fruit juice, cakes, biscuits, pastries, spreads etc might taste good but its low nutrient and high calorie results in weight gain.
Processed food is usually unhealthy and combats your effort of weight loss. It includes food such as chips, candy, bakery products etc.
Replacing these foods with fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, eggs etc will help in losing weight and provide nutrition.
Keep alcohol away- Alcohol increases weight and accumulates fat around the waist. It adds extra calories without any nutrients.
Keep yourself hydrated– Drinking enough water helps you lose weight and also prevents water retention in the body.
Take sound sleep- it is really tough to get a good sleep with an infant. But taking out time for a sound sleep benefits you in many ways. There is a link between less sleep and obesity thus a good sleep will help in your goal towards weight loss.
Look for guidance- you can approach a healthcare professional for proper guidance for healthy weight loss. This keeps you on the track and makes it easy for you to achieve the set target.
Manage stress- it is stressful to be a new mom. There is secretion of hormones when a person is under stress. These hormones give sleepless nights and promote weight gain.
Before trying any new dietary change, it is important to consult your healthcare professionals. After giving birth the pelvic region needs some time to get back to normal especially if it is cesarean.
When should you start the weight loss plan
It is not advised to try losing weight just after the baby comes into this world. The body needs some time to heal. A visit to a healthcare provider within twelve weeks of giving birth will let you know if you should start with the weight loss plans. Having a healthy weight helps you prevent diabetes and high blood pressure.
There is no need to worry if you put on weight during pregnancy. It is common to gain weight while carrying a baby in the womb. After giving birth to a child it is important for you to get back into a normal BMI as this will improve your overall health and prepare your body for the next pregnancy. Being in a good shape keeps you active and makes you physically and mentally involved with your child’s activities. Following healthy dietary habits helps you lose extra weight in the post-partum period.