Postpartum Weight Loss: Facts On Pregnancy Weight Gain & How to Lose It - 310 Blog

Postpartum Weight Loss: Facts On Pregnancy Weight Gain & How to Lose It

Jul 21, 2017
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Weight loss issues during pregnancy and post birth: A common problem for women that become pregnant is that they assume they are “eating for two.”

While it is true that your body requires additional calories in order to sustain a growing fetus, medical professionals suggest a conservative approach to weight gain.

How Much Weight Should Women Gain During Pregnancy?

According to WebMD[1], medical professionals suggest three main weight gain scenarios:

  • If a woman is at an average weight before pregnancy, she should only gain 25 to 35 additional pounds.
  • Suppose you are underweight pre-pregnancy, then you stand to gain 28 to 40 additional pounds.
  • If a woman is overweight prior to pregnancy, doctors recommend she only gain 15 to 25 pounds.

Weight Loss & Pregnancy

The amount of weight you gain during pregnancy can increase or decrease the extra cardio it will take after giving birth. Shedding baby weight depends entirely on the individual because everyone’s body responds differently. Some new mothers immediately look like they did prior to pregnancy, while others take years to get their bodies back in shape.

When I was pregnant with my daughter, I only gained 18 pounds. I thought it would be easy to return to my normal weight immediately afterwards. However, I remained 10 pounds heavier. It was not until almost 2 years later, once my daughter began to stop breastfeeding (at least as much) that my body went back to the size it used to be. This leads us to the ultimate question on postpartum body and weight loss from breastfeeding.

Does Breastfeeding Help With Weight Loss After Birth?

I personally did not experience rapid weight loss from breastfeeding. Not to cause panic and fear in some of our pregnant readers, but breastfeeding had the opposite effect on my body.

However, other women I have spoken to swear they’ve lost a ton of weight during breastfeeding. One study[2] suggests that mothers that breastfeed beyond 6 months have a greater chance of shedding extra pounds. I ate right and exercised regularly but could not shed the extra 10 pounds. The weight came off finally, but only after I began to wean my 2-year-old toddler off breast milk. So, every woman’s body responds differently after giving birth.

Postpartum Weight Loss: Facts On Pregnancy Weight Gain & How to Lose ItThe 4 Main Ways To Lose Weight Post Childbirth & Beyond:

  1. Cut Sugar
  2. Reduce Alcohol Intake
  3. Eat More Protein
  4. Employ a Consistent Exercise Routine

Some mothers opt to not breastfeed, which is perfectly fine. If your child is on formula, then you can enjoy a glass of wine now and then. However, limiting alcohol helps reduce calorie intake and help to shed unnecessary weight faster.

Why Reduce Alcohol? Alcohol Contains Extra Calories & Sugar

If you are breastfeeding, you are not supposed to drink alcohol because it passes through to your child via breast milk. Some mothers who want to drink alcohol one night will “pump and dump.” This means, they will evacuate their breast milk and then throw it out.

Excess alcohol can make you gain weight because of the caloric intake and the sugar content of some mixed beverages. Too much alcohol can equally disrupt your sleep pattern and affect how you feel the next day. According to the National Foundation For Sleep[3], drinking alcohol can disrupt the amount of chemicals in your brain needed for proper rest.

The same study concludes the following:

“Another reason people get lower-quality sleep following alcohol is that it blocks REM sleep, which is often considered the most restorative type of sleep. With less REM sleep, you’re likely to wake up feeling groggy and unfocused.”

Reduce Sugar & Eat Higher Protein + Complex Carb Meals

Cutting sugar while maintaining a high-protein diet is another recipe for success. This means you might want to reduce the amount of fruit you eat and work on eating complex carbohydrates with your protein-heavy meals.

Consistency + Adopting the Right Mindset

Being consistent with your diet and exercise is key to weight loss and personal success. If you want to do your body and mind a favor, then remain consistent. Stick to your weekly achievable goals as long as they are realisitic and attainable. Remember, having a child is a big deal and a life-changing event. Plus, your body is experiencing a range of hormones. So be gentle on yourself and to try to adopt a healthy lifestyle rather than fixate on body image.

Losing baby weight is definitely achievable with the right mindset and action plan in addition to a healthy diet.




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  1. I am many years past having babies but find that as I get older it is much harder to lose even a few pounds. I really needed these gentle and simple reminders to watch the sugar and alcohol intake during the hot summer months.

    • Yes, when I stopped drinking wine I actually lost more weight. I also realized that sugar is in everything, gosh, and when I limited my fruit intake that also helped. It really is simple reminders that make the difference. 🙂

    • I felt the same exact way as you do before I had kids. I think it is so much about maintenance and consistency. As long as you are consistent, then you will be fine during and after pregnancy. 🙂

  2. Watching what you are eating after you have a baby is so important if you want to loose that pesky weight. I did a lot of walking after my Son was born. It was a great time of the year weather wise.

    • Oh, see, that’s important to have great weather. Ugh, I can’t imagine being in snow country. I lived in snow country (Upstate, New York) where it snowed most of the time. I can’t imagine trying to burn off the calories when I have to dig out my car out of the drive way from the snow. So, I’m glad you had great weather and was able to work out. There’s nothing like good weather. 🙂

  3. I always heard that a pregnant women should consume about 300 extra calories a day. I personally gained only 31 pounds with each of my two babies and easily lost the weight through a healthy diet, exercise, and breastfeeding.

    • Wow, that’s amazing. I bragged about how little I gained (18 pounds) but couldn’t get the last 10 pounds off for what seemed like forever. My sister and many other women I know are like you, they dropped the weight fast. 🙂 I think you are right 300 extra calories a day sounds correct.

  4. Everyones body is different, so I suppose its best to do what works for the individual. Although, staying away from excess sugar would probably help those with the gestational diabetes. Xx- Doran @HauteBeautyGuide

    • Yeah and I heard from a friend of mine that ate too much fruit during pregnancy and ended up with diabetes during her pregnancy. So, sugar intake especially in fruit makes a difference.

  5. Awesome post and tips! I wish these were things I knew during my pregnancies. Back then all they told me was to eat for 2! Definitely not the ideal or even healthiest advice.

    • Yes, as I read from a reader that commented here…300 additional calories is about what most expecting mothers are required to gain. Overall, the number to gain is quite conservative. Thank you for reading and commenting. 🙂

  6. This is awesome information for women who are pregnant and how to lose the postpartum weight. Eating right and exercise is how you can loss the weight gained while you were pregnant I believe. Thanks for sharing the information.

  7. It’s true for some women breastfeeding is not the way to lose weight .. studies have shown that for each oz of milk produced the body burns only 15-20 calories. In my case I had fibroid complications during my pregnancy so I gained 53 pounds. I gave birth 3 months ago and I have still 20 more to lose.. the last pounds are the most difficult definitely. I have friends that swear that after they stop breastfeeding the weight came right off.

    • Same here, I believe I also tend to get fibroid or cysts more regularly than the average woman who gets them during their menstrual cycle. I also ended up gaining and was not in the camp where I lost weight. I wish I had lost weight during breastfeeding, but it didn’t happen for me. So, you can’t really rely on breastfeeding to help you lose post-partum baby weight.


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