Post pregnancy weight loss – Return to pre pregnancy weight!
The pattern of post pregnancy weight loss is highly variable. Historically it has been expected that post pregnancy weight loss is greater whilst breastfeeding but this isn’t actually always the case. It is therefore the purpose of this article to answer, why, what and how much weight can we expect following the birth of your baby.
It is known that women are more likely to lose weight following 9-12 months of having baby. Weight restoration depends on a number of things, namely, diet, exercise and age, to name the least. The type of diet and exercise plan are highly important particularly when breastfeeding.
The areas of which body fat losses are greater are generally in reverse of the area of weight gain during pregnancy. Body fat loss occurs from the hips and thighs as opposed to gaining fat at the hips and thighs during pregnancy.
The rate of weight loss in the well-nourished woman is largely due to the desire to lose weight and can be the consequence of intentional dietary reduction and/or an increase in exercise. The retention of weight is variable and dependent on age, increased parity, socioeconomic and marital status, increased intake, decreased activity, and other factors such as psycho-social stress, isolation and loneliness, which may become apparent in the post-partum period.
There has been much discussion and expectation that post pregnancy weight loss is faster whilst breast feeding however, we know this does not always appear to be the case. The majority of women lose weight gradually while breastfeeding, some women actually gain weight, and others lose weight relatively rapidly.
It would be reasonable and safe to allow 9-12 months as adequate time to readjust after pregnancy and expect weight loss. Post pregnancy weight loss is really dependent on how much and proportional the amount gained during pregnancy. Generally, exercise alone without diet modification does not lead to weight loss, because exercise tends to stimulate an increase in energy intake, Breastfeeding women may accelerate weight loss by reducing caloric intake and increasing physical activity. A weight loss of 0.5 kg per week is achievable with modification in diet and exercise and does not affect intake and increase in physical activity, does not appear to affect milk supply.
The type of diet is extremely important particularly for breast feeding mothers. High-protein, low-carbohydrate diets are not recommended while breastfeeding and during pregnancy. These diets will pose difficulty meeting requirements and also providing the glucose required to support the milk.
So what works and is safe post pregnancy weight loss?
- Have small frequent meals per day
- Aim to achieve a 1kg weight loss per 2 weeks.
- Enjoy a range of low GI carbohydrates
- Encourage regular exercise.
- High protein diets (over 20 percent of total energy), and consumption of protein supplements, protein powders or high protein.
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