Weight Loss Post-Pregnancy
Almost all women gain weight during pregnancy, but the amount can vary widely. Some gain a small amount, some much more. Similarly, the speed of weight loss after a baby is born is quite variable. Most women will lose about ten pounds shortly after birth due to loosing the weight of the baby, plus amniotic fluid and blood. However, the additional fat reserves that are necessary during pregnancy for the health of both baby and mother often take longer to go away.
For every woman who is back to her pre-pregnancy weight within a couple of months, there is another for whom extra pounds stay put no matter what she tries. All of these possibilities are within the range of normal, and remaining at a higher weight postpartum should not be seen as a failure. Many factors affect the rate of weight loss, including individual metabolism, age, diet, and activity level.
However, when it is necessary or desired to actively work on weight loss post-pregnancy, many things can help. As with all weight loss, diet and exercise are big factors. New mothers should not be on restrictive diets, especially when breastfeeding. Sharp restrictions of calories interfere with both milk production and postpartum recovery. However, eating a diet containing lean protein and plenty of fruits and vegetables will help the digestive system and metabolism be as healthy as possible, aiding in weight loss.
With exercise, caution is needed in the first few weeks (or longer with a C-section birth), as the body must rest to heal after birth. However, once your doctor has cleared you for normal activities, resuming an exercise routine is beneficial for both weight loss and stress reduction.
Breastfeeding can also help mothers lose weight. A baby needs between 500-800 calories a day to grow and thrive, and those calories come from the mother! Eating nutrient dense food and getting plenty of water will maintain a healthy milk supply while also allowing safe weight loss of up to a pound a week.
When additional support is needed, acupuncture and Chinese medicine are a beneficial tool. Regular treatment can strengthen weak digestion and reduce cravings for unhealthy foods, both of which aid in weight loss. In addition, acupuncture is excellent at reducing stress that may result from caring for a baby. Prolonged stress increases the levels of hormones such as cortisol in the body, and high cortisol levels are associated with weight gain, especially through the midsection. The experienced acupuncturists at TCRA can also make nutritional recommendations based on your individual constitution, helping you lose postpartum weight more easily and safely.