The Battle against the Body
Most doctors recommend that pregnant mothers gain between 25 and 35 pounds during pregnancy for singles, and up to 45 pounds for multiples. But, in addition to the baby’s weight, the placenta, amniotic fluids, the enlarged uterus and breasts, and extra blood add about another 15 pounds, and extra fat stores about another seven pounds. (1)
“Pregnancy represents the biggest change in a woman’s body since puberty ... After the baby is born, the stress from sleeplessness and total responsibility for a new human being can intensify the dismay many mothers feel about their physical appearance ... Most women want to return to their pre-pregnancy body as quickly as possible and end up disappointed and depressed when the extra weight seems not only to linger, but also remains distributed differently.” (1)
While the baby weight, placenta, fluids and blood are lost either immediately or relatively shortly after delivery, the fat stores do not automatically disappear. (1)
In fact, these are new fat cells added during the last three months of pregnancy that can shrink with exercise and diet, but will always be there. Add all this to a society that reveres thinness and additional pressure from friends and perhaps relatives, and first-time mothers in particular as well as “experienced” mothers can be overwhelmed with discouragement about their bodies.
Easy Tips for Quick Weight Loss after Birth
• Breastfeed – Breastfeeding “is an easy way to burn an extra 500-600 calories a day ... ‘Breastfeeding mothers tend to lose more weight when their babies are three to six months old than formula-feeding mothers who consume fewer calories.’” (1) However, it is essential that mothers still pay close attention to their diet.
• Don’t diet right away – Women should not diet for at least the first six weeks to allow the body sufficient time to recover from childbirth and establish a good supply of milk. (1)