Nutrition and Exercise
Eating healthy meals will help your body to heal. Enjoy a variety of foods from each of the basic food groups, making sure to include lots of vegetables, fruits and proteins. Drink eight to ten glasses of water daily. If you are breastfeeding, you will need to drink 12-14 glasses daily.
After the birth of your baby, you can expect to lose up to 20 pounds in the first month after delivery. Post partum weight loss should be a gradual process that allows your body to heal from childbirth and feed your baby if you are breastfeeding. It is tempting to try to lose weight quickly through strict diet and exercise but doing so may keep your body from recovering well. Post partum weight loss should be discussed with your health care provider before you change your diet and exercise regimen.
Patience and flexibility are important parts of your weight loss efforts. Your body undergoes many changes throughout pregnancy and the months that follow the baby’s birth. Regaining your shape and fitness will take some time but a gradual approach can be the most successful one.
Losing weight after having a baby works best when diet and exercise both play a part in your plan. Continue to eat a well balanced diet. Breastfeeding women should not reduce their caloric intake for about six weeks and then only minimally. Remember that you need an extra 500 calories/day to make milk. If your diet becomes unbalanced or is too low in calories, it will affect your recovery from childbirth and may affect your milk production. Some women find that breastfeeding helps them lose some of their extra weight.
As the days pass, you can gradually increase your level of activity and exercise. Your health care provider can help you decide when to begin exercise and how to change your diet. Women who have a Cesarean birth will need to recover from surgery (usually about 6 weeks) before starting to exercise. For women who exercised regularly throughout their pregnancy, building to your previous level of exercise will be a bit easier than for those women who did not exercise during pregnancy. One of the keys to success in post partum exercise is to build gradually in terms of time and intensity. Working out too long or too hard may increase your fatigue or even cause injury.
Fitting exercise into the days of new parenthood is a challenge all it’s own. Remember that 3 ten minute walks can be as effective in promoting weight loss as one 30 minute walk. Thirty minutes of exercise several times a week promotes both weight loss and stress management.