Don’t be too hard on your yourself by chasing quick weight loss postpartum

Updated on: 7 March 2022, 11:31 am IST
Your postpartum body will not be similar to your pre-pregnancy body, and that’s okay! But be in no rush to lose weight, because it could harm you and your baby.
Dr Anindita Majumdar Bhattacharya
You don’t have to chase weight loss goals post-pregnancy. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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After carrying a baby for close to 40 weeks, your body is likely to go through significant changes. Most of your focus and energy will only be on the baby for the next few months. However, it is also necessary to take care of yourself. You have gone through a lot, both physically and mentally. Whether you had a cesarean birth or a vaginal delivery, your body has been through trauma just the same, and it won’t be recovered in a jiffy. That’s why you must take your time and not rush weight loss. Be kind to yourself!

Postpartum recovery usually takes six to eight weeks, but it may also take longer than this. Still, you may need more time and some basic exercises to make you feel your best. During this period, a woman often feels disconnected from her own body, but don’t feel frustrated!

Let the naysayers be! Postpartum weight is for real. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

How does your body change after postpartum?

Your body has worked extremely hard to keep you and your baby healthy during pregnancy. Now that you have delivered your baby, your body will change again. Some of these physical changes in your postpartum are:

  • Breast engorgementAfter pregnancy, a woman’s breasts often feel tender and sore as they are filled with milk. The discomfort usually lasts till the woman starts breastfeeding her child regularly. Taking a warm shower to help your milk flow and wearing a supportive bra can also be helpful to reduce the swelling.
  • Weight gainEven though a woman loses some of the weight they gained during pregnancy post-delivery, it is not realistic to expect her pre-pregnancy body anytime soon. Trying to lose weight too fast and too quickly may impact the quality and quantity of breast milk. Breast milk is liquid gold for your baby, especially in these uncertain times. This is the best gift of care and protection you can give your baby.
  • Postpartum swelling

When a body recovers from pregnancy, there are a lot of hormone fluctuations. This often causes edema, which refers to the swelling of the hands, face, ankles, neck, and other areas. It should not be a surprise if your foot increases by half a size but don’t worry; the swelling will reduce with time and care.

What can you do for weight loss after pregnancy?

Most women expect to lose all the weight they gain after giving birth, which is not the case. As your body adjusts to a life post-pregnancy, it takes a bit longer to get your pre-pregnancy body back. In the meantime, you can take a few steps to lose the pregnancy weight and get back in shape:

Eat nutritious and healthy food

Eating healthy and getting proper nutrition is the key to getting in shape. It is especially important if you are breastfeeding. Simple lifestyle choices like eating green leafy vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, or controlling portion sizes can promote healthy weight loss after pregnancy.

Eat clean! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Exercising in moderation

Including some sort of physical activity in your daily routine can do wonders. However, it is always recommended to consult a physiotherapist before starting you start exercising post-pregnancy, especially if it was a C-section delivery. Though your physiotherapist will visit you in the hospital room post your childbirth and assess your situation, we prescribe a few gentle exercises intended for faster recovery.

These exercises are done best on your bed, while laying next to your baby. It is usually safe to start moderate pace walking along with a few more light exercises about four to six weeks after your delivery under the guidance of your0 physiotherapist.

A quick video consultation will help you feel motivated and soothe your fears, if any, during this period. It is essential that you start exercising slowly to get used to it. You can just start with a stroll in the park with your baby. Working out with other moms could give you the required motivation.

Set realistic weight loss goals

It is easy to feel discouraged when you don’t see immediate changes in your weight, the key is to be patient with yourself and your body. Through proper diet and exercise, you can expect to lose around 0.5 kg every week to 10 days. Be prepared to wait for around 6 months to 1 year to reach your pre-pregnancy weight goal.

Set realistic goals that you can achieve and feel good about it. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

How hard is it to deal with a postpartum body?

The postpartum body is difficult for every woman to deal with, but it is significantly harder for women with body image issues. Looking in the mirror and not liking what you see can take a toll on your mental health as well. In times like these, it is essential to stay positive and not be too self-critical. You should be proud of yourself and your body for doing an amazing thing. Give it time, wear comfortable clothes and treat your body well.

If you continue to feel unhappy, it is time that you share your feelings with a loved one or a medical professional to get the required guidance.

Dr Anindita Majumdar Bhattacharya

Dr Anindita Majumdar Bhattacharya, Senior Consultant Physiotherapist, Motherhood Hospitals, Indiranagar, Bangalore

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