It's no wonder that you're anxious to lose weight after having your baby. After nine months of watching your body change as you gain weight, it's finally time to get your prepregnancy shape back. If you've had a C-section, your road to recovery will be longer than a woman with a vaginal delivery. By taking your time and allowing your body to heal before adopting a diet and exercise routine, you should be able to lose all of the weight you gained with your pregnancy.
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You may feel immediately lighter after your C-section, and for good reason. The weight of your baby and the placenta is removed from your body. The rest of the weight that is stored in the breasts and as fat may not be so easy to lose. For the first few days following your C-section, exercise will likely be the last thing on your mind. With the excitement of the arrival if your new baby coupled with your recovery from major surgery, it's fine to take a few days to allow your body to heal according to your doctor's instructions. When you're discharged from the hospital, you should still avoid physical activity until your doctor approves it during your six-week postpartum checkup. You'll need time for your incision to heal and pain to subside before making weight loss a priority.
Avoid following a restrictive diet until at least your six week checkup, particularly if you're breastfeeding your baby. Your body needs the time to regulate your milk supply, and eating a restrictive diet could disrupt the natural supply and demand of your body's biology. Still, paying attention to what you put in your body and eating foods that are low in calories, yet high in nutrients can help you lose your baby weight faster. Eat smaller meals throughout the day, which can help temper a breastfeeder's appetite while keeping your metabolism efficient.
Once your doctor gives you the OK, exercise is a vital part of regaining your prepregnancy shape. You may not have the endurance that you did before your pregnancy, so start with low-impact workouts such as walking or water aerobics. Both burn calories for weight loss while being easy on your body. As you become more comfortable exercising, begin adding higher-impact workouts, like aerobics, dance or running. Burning more calories than you consume is the only way to bring about healthy and lasting weight loss after your pregnancy.
Pushing yourself to drop your baby weight immediately after pregnancy only sets you up for failure and discouragement. If using the right type of diet and exercise routine, it's possible that you'll lose all of the baby weight, but slow and steady wins the race. It took 40 weeks for you to gain the weight to support your pregnancy and that weight won't disappear directly after a C-section. Instead, plan for 40 weeks to lose the weight sensibly and safely.
- Babycenter.com; I Had a Cesarean. When Can I Start Exercising?; Jill Stovsky
- MayoClinic.com; Weight Loss After Pregnancy: Reclaiming your Body; June 2010
- "The Essential C-section Guide: Pain Control, Healing at Home, Getting Your Body Back-- and Everything else You Need to Know About a Cesarean Birth"; Maureen Connolly et al.; 2004
- "The New Harvard Guide to Women's Health"; Karen J. Carlson et al.; 2004