During the 40 weeks of pregnancy, the female body stores fat for later use. This fat storage is natural and in place in order to ensure there is enough fat on the female body to maintain lactation after the baby is born. What happens to your baby fat after giving birth is up to you. After your baby is born, you may want to diet and exercise your way into that pre-pregnancy weight, but losing fat too quickly after birth can be unhealthy for both your and your baby.
Keeping the Fat for Baby Health
For the first 6 weeks or so after the baby is born, the female body will continue to change drastically. The blood stores used for the growth of the placenta and fetus will return to their pre-pregnancy levels, your breasts will grow larger and begin to leak milk even if you choose not to breastfeed, and your hormone levels will return to their pre-pregnancy levels. The fat stores provide the body with the extra energy needed to perform these complex processes in the body.
The fat stores are exceptionally important for mothers who choose to breast feed. Breast feeding requires at least an additional 500 calories every day in order to keep milk producing and flowing at a rate that will keep baby happy. Paired with the exhaustion of caring for a new baby, lack of sleep and the lack of hunger often associated with body changes after birth, the female body chooses to feed off of the fat stores in order to keep you healthy.
Preparing Early for Fat Loss
Women who wish to get a head start on losing their baby fat can do so before the baby is ever conceived. By adopting a healthy diet and an exercise plan before getting pregnant, the weight gain during pregnancy will be limited and the weight loss and fat loss after pregnancy, healthy and quick. It is important, however, to keep eating the right amount of calories after birth even if the weight does not begin to slide off.
Women who maintain a healthy exercise regime during and after pregnancy often lose the baby fat without even trying. Exercise during pregnancy is completely acceptable and even encouraged. Physically fit moms are often able to handle the stresses of childbirth easier and recover far more quickly from surgery ( in the case of a C-section) and the natural child birthing process. During pregnancy, yoga, walking, light aerobics, swimming and tai chi are all great choices to keep the body limber and in shape for losing the fat after the baby is born.
Losing that baby fat may seem like the priority immediately after birth, but the female body is storing this fat for a reason. In addition to the basic bodily functions powered by the fat stores, they are strategically placed throughout the body in order to make you comfortable and easy to cuddle with, providing yet another reason to keep those fat stores and give the body a bit of time to enjoy motherhood before returning to the gym.