Although you have recently given birth and are spending lots of quality time with your new bundle of joy, you need to remember that you have to look after yourself too.
Recent research has shown that failing to lose the excess ‘baby weight’ within 3-12 months of giving birth could raise the risk of you suffering various health problems.
Those women who fail to lose the weight during this time tend to have higher blood pressure as well as a higher risk of developing diabetes and heart disease later in life.
Dr Ravi Retnakaran, a diabetes researcher and clinician who led the study had this to say:
“Most women are not going to go back to their pre-pregnancy weight right away and we found that the typical pattern is more than 80% don’t by three months.”
“But, at some three months to 12 months, what we’re suggesting is that you should be on a trajectory of weight loss.”
“What we’re seeing is the period between three and 12 months after delivery is a critical window during which practitioner and patient attention to weight control may be very important to long-term metabolic and vascular health.”
What did the study involve?
Researchers at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto looked at the weight loss trends of a group of around 300 healthy women who had recently given birth.
They also monitored the risk factors of diabetes and heart disease, which involved checking their blood pressure, their LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and their resistance to insulin.
What the researchers found was that very few women chose to lose weight immediately after birth, with 8 out of 10 weighing more than they did pre-pregnancy 3 months after giving birth.
They also discovered that 75% of women did lose weight within the recommended 3-12 month period, with the other 25% who did not lose any weight being at a higher risk of suffering from diabetes and heart disease.
Why women fail to lose weight after pregnancy?
Women tend to gain around 20% or more body weight over the 9 months that they are pregnant, which is normal as you tend to feel that you are eating for two.
However, once the baby is born it can be difficult to get out of the habit of eating as much. In addition you have the extra pressure of looking after your baby and the problems that it causes, for example a lack of time to exercise and a lack of sleep.
How to lose weight after pregnancy?
To lose weight after pregnancy really is no different to any other weight loss attempt. Although if you have undergone a c-section then exercise should be less rigourous.
Weight loss involves cutting out the junk food and takeaways, instead eating a healthy diet full of fresh fruit, vegetables and lean protein sources (turkey, chicken, fish).
Also make sure to drink plenty of water, not only as it contain zero calories but because it can flush out those toxins and can even help to cut food cravings.
Often your body will mistake thirst for hunger so keep a bottle of water handy for when these cravings arise.
As for exercise, while your baby is unable to walk you can workout at home or take the baby for a walk. There are even prams and strollers especially designed for jogging if you wish.
Having a baby is a wonderful experience, but although your priorities have changed you still need to take the time to look after yourself.