Postpartum weight loss should be slow and steady: Tips to shed the extra kilos post pregnancy

Are you trying to lose weight post-pregnancy? Losing postpartum weight loss will take time, and you should try not to rush into it. Here are some tips for postpartum weight loss.
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Tips to lose postpartum weight loss easily. Image courtesy: Adobe stock
Updated: 18 Oct 2023, 11:18 am IST
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The whole journey from pregnancy to childbirth is the most joyous moment for mommies. But something more challenging than pregnancy and delivery is how to lose weight post-delivery! Looking at some celebs like Alia Bhatt and Gauhar Khan, who lost postpartum weight in no time, had people believing that they can do it too. Bipasha Basu, on the other hand, is losing weight slowly and steadily post-pregnancy. So, there is no one way to lose weight post-pregnancy. While they can, your body’s response to exercise and diet could be much different than these celebrities. If you’ve been struggling to lose postpartum weight, here are some ways that can help you lose weight properly.

The first thing you need to know is that it is important for new mothers to understand that to lose weight postpartum it needs to be slow and steady. You have just delivered a new life and you might look like you are still pregnant. Be gentle to yourself, as your body needs to heal.

What happens during the first week of postpartum?

Within a few days of giving birth, your loose ligaments start to tighten, the uterus slowly begins to shrink, and blood and fluid volume slowly decreases. Losing baby weight takes time. Did you know only 20 percent of women return to their pre-pregnant weight within the first 3 months postpartum? Whether it is a normal or a caesarian section, your body needs time to recover. Losing weight too soon after childbirth may prolong your recovery period.

postpartum weight loss
Here’s what happens after the first week of pregnancy : Adobe stock

How to lose postpartum weight?


A good recovery plan is important for a new mother to take better care of their newborn. If a new mother had a healthy pregnancy and no complications post-delivery, she could start exercising the next day of delivery. The core and back are important muscles to consider in the initial post-delivery.

  • Exercise a day after delivery may help reduce your post-delivery back pain and discomfort. Focusing on exercises like pelvic tilts, ankle movements, deep breathing, pelvic bridges, and core activation with a correct breathing pattern is a very good start.
  • Add moderate-intensity exercise to your routine. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (SCOG), you can do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise for a span of a week post-childbirth.
  • Aim for 20-30 minutes of exercise 5 times a week. Moderate-intensity can be just 10-15 min of walking in your hallway, on-the-spot walking, or brisk walking around your home or walking around your neighborhood with your baby in a stroller.
    As you are reaching 6-12 weeks post-delivery, add strength exercises with weights and resistance bands.
  • Women who focus on staying active postpartum have better scores on psychological well-being and adaptation to postpartum life.

Eat right to lose postpartum weight

  • Ensure to eat on time, skipping meals does not make you lose weight but depletes your energy, As you need a lot of energy to take care of the baby.
  • Never skip your breakfast. Breakfast is an energy fuel for starting your day. A good breakfast will prevent you from feeling exhausted.
  • Eat light, instead of 3 heavy meals you can have 5-6 smaller portions of meals throughout the day
  • Take time to enjoy your food, if you focus on your meal, you have less chance of overeating.
  • Drink at least 12 cups of fluid throughout the day. Keep a water bottle especially reachable to the place where you usually breastfeed the baby.
  • Reach out for healthy snacks, which are rich in protein and fiber rather than potato chips, or unhealthy snacks.
  • Avoid artificial sweeteners and carbonated drinks, as it is loaded with sugar and calories.
  • Have whole fruit rather than juice, as whole fruit is richer in fiber, nutrients, and vitamins.
  • Avoid fried food, sugar, saturated, and Tran’s fat food. Rather choose baked, stir-fried, broiled, or steamed food.

Also Read: 5 solutions for new moms who want to lose postpartum weight

postpartum weight loss
Eat right and exercise to lose postpartum weight loss. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

Things to be avoided

  • Avoid exercise like running and lifting weights until 4 weeks post childbirth. An individualised exercise plan is important.
  • Wait until your milk supply is normalised before drastically cutting calories.
  • Aim for weight loss of about 500-600 grams a week. Eating healthy foods i.e. fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein, and adding exercise can help achieve the target weight loss.
  • During breastfeeding, you need 500 more calories per day. Ensure not to drop below the minimum number of calories your body needs.
  • If you are exclusively breastfeeding, weight loss should happen gradually and it should be monitored. Weight loss happens too fast after childbirth with less calorie intake and exercise, however, it might reduce the production of breast milk.

Points to consider on post-pregnancy weight loss

  • It is important to strengthen the major muscles before starting higher-intensity exercise.
  • Consider consulting a physiotherapist 2 weeks post-delivery for Pelvic floor muscle evaluation and the presence of Diastasis Recti (Diastasis Recti is a condition in which your rectus abdominal muscle is separated due to the expansion of your abdomen during pregnancy).
  • If you have diastasis recti, your physiotherapist will help with core stability exercises according to the different types and extent of diastasis.
  • Studies have found that deep core stability exercise programs help heal diastasis recti and improve postpartum recovery
  • Pregnancy weight loss is a gradual process, exercise and a well-balanced diet do not outweigh each other. Lack of physical activity and unhealthy dietary habits can lead to postpartum obesity.
  • Combining exercise and diet are important components in post-partum weight loss.

You can exercise while breastfeeding!

The experimental study found that exercise during lactating does not affect milk composition. It is found that women during lactating who do aerobic exercise post 6-8 weeks post-delivery for 45 min, 5 times a week, for a span of 12 weeks have less body fat and improved cardiovascular fitness due to exercising during lactation. However, it is important and crucial to maintain good nutrition and hydration.

  • If you are planning to start moderate-intensity exercise during lactating.
  • Use a good support bra.
  • Try to express breast milk or breastfeed baby before exercise to avoid breast soreness post-exercise.
  • Your calorie intake and hydration should be monitored.
  • Consult your doctor, lactation consultant, and nutritionist before you start higher-intensity exercise when you are still lactating.

Consult the right experts in order to have better outcomes rather than a complication. Also, remember that every human is unique; do not compare yourself with others in the weight loss postpartum journey. You are the most wonderful and beautiful person in your baby’s eye. Weight loss is a byproduct of exercise, prioritised exercise for your healthy life.

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About the Author

Dr K Sushmita, Consultant of obstetrician and gynaecologist at Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, in  Bengaluru, Sahakarnagar Unit. She has more than 19 years of experience in infertility treatment, complex gynaecological problems, and recurrent cesarean sections. ...Read More

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