After giving birth, many mothers try to get back into shape only to be frustrated because it’s not happening fast enough. In fact, some women look very much pregnant after giving birth.
Even with adjustments to one’s lifestyle (reducing daily calorie intake and incorporating regular exercise), it can still take a while before they can see results, leading them to feel like failure.
For most women it takes six to eight weeks for their stomach to shrink back down to normal size after giving birth.
This is because both the stomach and uterus expand to accommodate a baby.
The uterus makes room for the baby by expanding over the pubic bone, pushing out the abdomen in the process. Hence, women can appear “pregnant” six months after the delivery.
It’s also important to remember that women’s bodies are different; some may find it easier to lose those stubborn pregnancy weight while other may be stuck with it for longer periods of time.
Are you thinking about losing weight soon after giving birth? Experts are saying that you hold your horses. New mothers should not be losing weight in such lightning speed.
“We don't have the kind of lifestyle that would allow for that kind of quick loss—and the sooner women recognize that, the better they will feel about themselves,” says Laura Riley, MD, a high-risk-pregnancy expert from Massachusetts General Hospital.
Experts are also warning against adapting crazy crash diets and an intense exercise program, especially if these mothers have had a particularly difficult pregnancy or C-section.
For new mothers, cutting calorie intake especially if they’re breastfeeding isn’t the way to go, as per WebMD.
"You should be eating at least 1,800-2,000 calories a day while breastfeeding, and if you eat less you will not only be shortchanging yourself, you'll be shortchanging your baby,” says nutritionist Elizabeth Somer. “You can't produce quality milk if you are not eating enough.”
If a mom is intent to get back into shape, light to moderate exercise will be beneficial for them. Not only does it increase the energy, it also reduces the risk of postpartum depression.
Experts say that new mothers can start working out as soon as they feel like they’re up for it, but it’s still best to get a go signal from a doctor.
“That's key, being able to keep up with whatever program you start. If you can't then either the program is too rigorous, or you're just not ready. Exercise should make you feel better, not worse," says Laura Riley.