Why have I gained weight in pregnancy?
An increase in your weight during pregnancy and in visceral fat (around the centre of your body) after you’ve given birth is perfectly normal and common. It is caused by the combined effects of the changes your hormones go through during pregnancy, that commonly increase your body’s tendencies to store excess energy for your baby, especially after eating meals. This is thought of as ‘maternal fat’, and we have our ancestors to thank for it! Dating all the way back to pre-historic ages when humans didn’t have easy access to supermarkets and an unlimited supply of energy-dense foods, the body would need to mobilise its energy-dense fat stores to make sure both mum and baby were well-fed!
Why is it so hard to lose the weight after pregnancy?
You may feel like giving birth to a baby has thrown all of your body’s normal processes out of whack, including energy regulation! As your body recovers and your hormones change again, ready for breastfeeding, it can be harder to regulate how much energy your body needs to store and hence, maintain control over your weight (you’re certainly not alone there!) Many of the pregnancy-related contributors to gestational weight gain, such as fluid gained during pregnancy and increased organ size (e.g. of the uterus), are lost in the first six weeks postpartum. After this period, postpartum weight retention is mainly due to increased fat mass.
How long after giving birth should I wait to lose weight?
The short answer is – you should never feel like you have to wait or put focusing on your health and wellbeing on hold. What will vary, however, is the specific approach required for your healthy weight maintenance, depending where you and bub are at in your postnatal journey together.
I often hear from my patients that they were so busy with taking care of their baby and their family after pregnancy that they eventually just forgot to find time to take care of themselves too. So if you’re wondering about when will be the right time after giving birth to start focusing on your own health and wellbeing – the sooner the better!
Speak to a Medical Professional
The number one thing is to always make sure you are getting specific medical advice from your Alevia doctor or other healthcare professional, to make sure that you and bub are healthy and happy!
Adequate nutrition is absolutely crucial for your health and wellbeing, and different women will always have individual health requirements, particularly while pregnant or postnatal. If you’re unsure, myself or any of our Alevia doctors can provide you with compassionate, trusted advice about losing weight after having a baby.