Many women are afraid of losing weight after pregnancy that their figure will no longer be as slim as before. Are the kilos collected during pregnancy remain with the woman forever? Without panic: such fears are greatly exaggerated.
This will tell you every mother: with the birth of a child comes a completely different life, full of new joys, worries and problems, the usual way of life is slipping, and most of all I just want to sleep. There is another reason for concern: how can you keep up with yourself in all this mess and, in particular, losing weight after pregnancy? Experience shows that nothing is impossible in this.
Where does “extra” weight from pregnancy come from?
So the organism of the woman is arranged: weight gain during pregnancy cannot be avoided. Additional kilograms are composed of several components. In addition to the most obvious of them – the weight of the developing baby and surrounding shells, they arise because of the increase in blood volume, development of the uterus, increase in breast size and, finally, the appearance of new fat deposits. The latter is the main problem: if all other causes cease to be relevant soon after the birth, then it is not so easy to get rid of accumulated fat. Moreover – hurry with this is not worth it.
The thing is that fat is being postponed for just that reason. According to scientists, this is an ancient evolutionary mechanism: during pregnancy, a woman should accumulate several kilograms of fat tissue on the hips and abdomen in order to protect herself and the child from hunger (the birth of a child is a troublesome business even now, to say nothing of the Stone Age). The progress of civilization made this “achievement” of evolution on the whole meaningless: fortunately, most of today’s mothers do not experience food problems. However, the physiology has not changed: under the influence of hormones, the female body is still trying to accumulate some fat during pregnancy. Thus, with this fat, everything is slightly more complicated than with that which is postponed as a result of simple overeating. It is associated with serious hormonal processes, it is not worth it to interfere with without obvious need.
On average, by the end of pregnancy, the weight of a woman is increased by 11-16 kilograms. However, for adipose tissue only 3-4 kg of gained weight, and a significant part of the remaining kilograms is … water.
As for fat, then, as we have already mentioned, the main places of its deposition are the trunk and thighs (one of the studies gave figures correspondingly to 68% and 16% of the whole new fat mass). For the most part, it is subcutaneous fat that spoils the figure, but does not undermine health as much as visceral fat deposited around the internal organs.
Not only physiology
However, it would be a mistake to consider that fat during and after pregnancy is postponed solely because of the ancient genetic mechanism. A couple of years ago, scientists conducted an unusual study, during which it was found that pregnancy leads to the accumulation of fat … and in men. It’s about the fathers of children of course. The sounded figures amaze: on average, happy fathers gained up to 6 kilograms! The reason for this can be quite simple: stress is to blame. The birth of a child, with all the joy of this event, is a great stress for parents, and “seizing” stress is an old and proven method to cope with it (however, the method is far from the best).
Constant lack of sleep, a sedentary lifestyle (because you will not leave a child alone for a long time), a change in the mass of everyday habits – all this cannot but cause stress in a woman who recently became a mother. In addition, the attention of all loved ones is now focused on the child, and the woman herself seems to be sidelined. This is not easy to get used to. Especially if at that time the stories of the next “star” that gave birth to a child constantly sounded and in a couple of weeks appeared before the cameras with the ideal figure. The current tension can play a role in the collection of extra kilograms, and this should not be forgotten.
Fat is not forever
However, we have good news: yes, there is a genetic mechanism that promotes the accumulation of fat after pregnancy, but there is no mechanism that would “hold” this fat forever. So, with this fat you can fight. However, doctors would not have been doctors if they had not added at the end of this phrase: “but to fight gradually and cautiously.”
First of all, you need to decide on the time when you need to think about the figure. Ideally, this should be done before pregnancy: it is established that women who have been overweight even before her, are more likely to seriously recover. And vice versa – those who were in the form before the birth of a child, it is easier to return to this form. If the extra pounds were originally your problem, then perhaps you should not overeat during pregnancy.
After giving birth to your weight, you can safely not worry for a couple of weeks. During this time, the body will be going through a variety of things: it needs to adjust again to “ordinary life”, gradually swell edema, the uterus will decrease – you will lose weight even without visible efforts. Physical stress at this time is undesirable, especially if there was a cesarean section: the body needs to rest, the uterus to heal, and the woman – plenty to rejoice in the birth of the child.
If about 6 weeks after the birth all goes well, you can start thinking about the figure. To two traditional ways to keep weight under control – to move more and not overeat – one more is added: feeding of the child by a breast.
Lactation as a way to lose weight
You can consider this an exclusive, accessible only to mothers: breastfeeding helps to “burn” accumulated stocks of fat. Mathematics is extremely simple: the production of breast milk takes about 500 calories a day, which affects the energy balance of the entire body.
A couple of years ago, Danish scientists completed a large study, in which more than 36,000 women participated, and its results clearly demonstrated: the more a woman breastfeeds, the less fat accumulated during pregnancy remains after her 6 months after childbirth. However, there are two important points: first, breastfeeding should be regular, and secondly, there is a risk of getting into the hormonal “trap”. The thing is that the production of milk is controlled by the hormone prolactin, and it increases the appetite. It is worth remembering: you need only 400-500 extra calories per day, not several thousand.
Feeding the baby with breast milk has many other advantages: it contains everything a kid needs, helps to build an emotional connection between the mother and the baby, and also reduces the risk of developing breast cancer in the mother.
Diet and exercise – carefully, but you can
And even necessary. The main thing is that there are no “sharp movements”. It is generally believed that the optimal rate of weight loss after pregnancy is not more than 0.5 kg per week, with a more rapid one, there may be difficulties with breast milk. If you do not have health problems, then with all the kilograms you can get rid of during the year after giving birth. The principles of weight control are for sure familiar to you: rational nutrition and physical activity. There are only a few important features.
First, there are no radical diets. Medicine does not welcome food in which whole classes of products are excluded, be it veganism or fat-free diets, and there is no need to talk about nursing mothers. We strongly advise against resorting to strict diets in the first year after delivery, especially if you do not have a clear understanding of what exactly you are doing and how to properly fill the lack of nutrients that you have refused. Address with a question to the dietician, eventually.
Secondly, pay attention to the variety of your food, it must contain all the substances you and the child need. The rule “quality is not more important than quantity” for food is invariably relevant. Well, a few standard tips: you cannot skip meals (including breakfasts), starve useless (it still does not help take the weight under control), more fruit and vegetables, less fatty and fried foods. And milk – for a nursing mother it is a valuable source of calcium, just like all dairy products. But their fat content does not matter much, so choose less fatty yogurt, cottage cheese and milk. Once again, we remind you of caloric value: you need your standard rate, plus 400-500 additional calories, if you are breastfeeding.
As for physical exercises, it is best to perform them together with the child. No, no, it’s not that you have to pull together on the bar, or that you need to use your baby as a dumbbell (this is a monstrously bad idea). But joint walks are a great idea: firstly, walking is an excellent variant of the “soft” load, which should be started after childbirth, and secondly, pushing the wheelchair is not as easy as it might seem at first glance. Such walks can be done at least daily, and each of them will cost you a few hundred more calories.
Then you can go back to short jogs, and to exercises with dumbbells (of course, it is worth starting with small scales). We will repeat: all it only after 1, 5 months after sorts or labors, and it is possible and later if it was done or made caesarean section. However, such sparing recommendations should not relax you: as always, regularity is important in exercises, and over time, the load should be increased.
A year later, the schedule of your sports activities will no longer depend on physiology, but on your daily routine and on how well you manage all your affairs so that you have time for training.
And finally, it is worth mentioning one more important point. Your expectations about your body after pregnancy should be realistic. You are unlikely to be able to look like a “Hollywood superstar” in the same situation a month after the birth. Firstly, you need a personal trainer (who would deal with you), several nannies (who would be sitting with the child at the time), a stylist and a career that depended entirely on how you look. Secondly, you should admit to yourself: did you look as good as she, this “star”, before pregnancy? Begin taking care of the figure and appearance is even before the birth of the child, when it is easier, and at your disposal there is much more time. In addition, physiology is such that after giving birth, your body is most likely not will be exactly the same as it was before them. Some changes are inevitable: the stomach will be slightly softer, and the hips and waist – a little wider. However, it is up to you to decide: these changes will only be visible to you or become visible to everyone around you. There is no conclusive evidence that it is impossible in principle for a woman to lose weight after pregnancy, although there are many factors involved: from genetic to lifestyle.
Summarizing, we note: there is nothing wrong or harmful in the fact that during pregnancy a woman gaining weight. This is inherent in physiology, and this is normal. However, there is nothing normal in being left with the fat formed forever. The same physiology is laid down that this weight will gradually go away, and leave it for one year. This requires only a desire and desire to achieve the goal.