**Post pregnancy (post natal) weight loss**
We all have admired the “yummy mummy’s” of Bollywood, showing off their flat abs weeks after they pop out a baby. Secretly we desire our pre -pregnancy body and get into a mental tussle as soon as we are back home with the baby. While the trials and tribulations of childbirth are well-known, a woman’s body goes through a lot of trauma during childbirth – the pelvic floor is stretched, the hormones adjust post- delivery with vaginal bleeding for a few weeks to a month. The vagina is an extremely forgiving part of the body, it can be very swollen and can look quite distressing to some people but after six weeks when the healing has happened it can go back to looking quite normal. There is a lot of change in the body shape, A lot of women put on weight during pregnancy and do not manage to lose it after. Post -partum depression is another realm all together.
* How soon is too soon? *
Fully recovering from pregnancy and childbirth can take months. While many women feel mostly recovered by 6-8 weeks, it may take longer than this to feel like yourself again. It takes 1 week for the cervix to return to its normal size and if it’s a C section, it takes longer for the stitches to heal completely. The Uterus shrinks to the original size and location in about 6-10 weeks time, skin, however takes a much longer time depending on the per-pregnancy conditions. The abdominal muscles also take the trauma of childbirth. Giving birth can be as tough as running a full marathon. Take your time to rest and recover and enjoy the mommy-hood before you get on with the efforts of shedding the extra pounds added during the 9 months.
Natural weight management by our bodies *
Most women lose half their baby weight by 6 weeks after delivering, the rest take much longer ranging from 6 months to a year. Lactation and breast feeding does help with getting the hormonal balance regained much better. Enjoying the mother hood specially if you are a first time mom can have positive effects on the stress levels and can improve on the general well- being of the baby and mom. Breastfeeding makes your body burn calories which helps you lose weight. If you are patient, you may be surprised at how much weight you lose naturally while breastfeeding
* How to go about the extra pounds?
Always take the advice of your gynaecologist and a well qualified nutritionist. Following diet plans off the internet or drastically cutting calories and nutrition always boomerangs back.
1. * Plan your weight loss efforts *, aiming at a pound or less a week, eat healthy and exercise, women who are exclusively breast feeding would require about 500 calories additional daily than what they did before childbirth.
2. Indian culture emphasises a lot on calories dense ladoos and ghee and tons of dry fruits post delivery, all are aimed at making the recovery better, a mindful watch on how much you add to your daily intake would be good. Fiber and protein, whole grains, fruits, dairy should be included to meet the nutritional requirements of a new mommy.
3.* DO NOT skip meals * or go on soups –salad-fruits only diet in the haste to fit into the LBD. Caring for a new born takes a chunk of our time and mothers usually forget to have their meals occasionally ,later muching on whatever they can lay their hands on. Plan your meals the same way you plan the massage-feeding -bathing of your child.
4.* Hydration * – this would help with the skin, hair, nails and the glow and I can’t emphasise enough on the benefits of having ample water intake. Limit drinks like soda and other beverages with added sugar and calories.
5.* Do not crash diet or go for fad diets * removing food groups completely out of your meals. Pounds you lose this way are bound to hound you with health hazards and gaining back more than you lost.
6.* Be realistic *– Bollywood stars and the Kardashian’s have an army of minions around them who help them stick to their diet regimes and weight loss journey. You may not be able to return to your exact pre-pregnancy shape. For many women, pregnancy causes lasting changes in the body. You may have a softer belly, wider hips, and a larger waistline. Make your goals about your new body realistic.
7. *Exercise * – One can claim that a new addition to the family leaves them with no time for self -care leave alone time to exercise, a healthy diet combined with regular exercise will surely add to the progress , at the same time do not overdo it, yes, I agree the Kareena Kapoor video of her doing squats and cross training are goals every mom would have, but for that one needs to have years of training. Just a quick walk around the block with your baby in the stroller is a great way to start adding exercise to your daily routine.