How to Get Your Body Back in Shape After Pregnancy

Gaining weight during pregnancy is part of a normal pregnancy, and after pregnancy, but it's important to get back into shape.

  1. Timing is everything. Give yourself some time: Immediately after giving birth to a baby is not always the best time to try and lose the baby weight. The body needs to return to pre-pregnancy hormone levels, blood volume levels, and water levels. This can take up to 12 weeks and needs to be taken into consideration before restricting calories and exercising to lose weight after the baby.
  2. Decreasing caloric intake. There are two reasons not to reduce calories immediately after having a baby. The first is the extra caloric intake needed for the body to heal. This is especially true with women who have delivered via C-Section. The second is breastfeeding. The body needs extra calories to produce the milk needed to feed a baby. Reducing the caloric intake too far will reduce the amount of milk available to the baby.
  3. Essential calories. Mothers who have just given birth need to keep calorie total at a minimum of 1500 in order for the body to heal and deal with the postpartum changes. Most diets will lower the caloric intake below this amount so adding in an extra snack or two is a healthy choice.
  4. Breastfeeding and calorie burn. The postpartum mom needs at least 400 extra calories a day if breastfeeding. The body will use these calories as part of the basal metabolic rate (the average number of calories burned doing normal daily activities.)
  5. Exercise after baby. After a baby is 6 weeks old and the doctor has released mom from care, exercise can begin at pre-pregnancy levels. Before this time, the only exercise mom should be doing is the same exercise mom was doing before the baby was born.
  6. The importance of a good night's rest. Recent scientific studies have linked a good night's rest to decreases in depression and increases in daily energy levels. The better mom feels, the better she will be able to deal with weight loss after the baby.
  7. Gym equipment and postpartum weight loss. For the first 6 weeks after a baby is born, using gym equipment that could be harmful is not recommended. This is especially true if the baby was born via C-Section.
  8. Weight loss supplements and baby. There are many ingredients included in weight loss supplements that are not approved for women who are pregnant or nursing. These supplements should not be taken if mom is breastfeeding her baby.
  9. Eating multiple times a day. As with any other weight loss program, eating multiple times a day increases the metabolism and decreases the feeling of hunger associated with dieting.
  10. Increasing the right foods. The right foods include vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Eating from these three food groups is a good option for any woman trying to lose weight.
  11. Reclaiming the healthy food mentality. When pregnant, many women feel as though they can eat anything and get away with it because they are pregnant. This mentality will need to be reigned in after the baby is born. Mom needs to eat healthy foods in healthy portion sizes.
  12. Portion size and postpartum weight loss. Portion size is not a huge problem due to the fact that the baby took up so much space at the end of the pregnancy that mom is used to eating less. Sometimes, however, moms will give birth and resume eating larger portion sizes once the baby is out of the way (so to speak). This is not the best option for weight loss.

Read More:
Get in Shape to Improve Your Fertility
12 Steps To Lose Weight Before You Get Pregnant
Eat Healthy: Pregnancy Nutrition and Food Guide