Shaping up after childbirth

Apart from the health and development of their newborns, gaining their pre-pregnancy weight and toning their muscles are also major concerns for new mums. But unfortunately, there is no easy way to achieve this.

During the nine months of pregnancy, your body have been through major changes, and it will take nearly as long if not longer, for it to return to normal. In fact, it takes around two years for your body to recover from pregnancy if you deliver normally, and five years if you had a C- section.
For months after you deliver your baby, your body shows many telling clues that you have been pregnant and have had a baby. The extra fat you accumulated during your pregnancy – may leave you with unwanted bulges, and weaken tummy muscles can leave you with wobbly tummy for some time.

When it comes to shaping up after childbirth, patience and determination are key.

Losing weight safely
Remember, it took your body nine months putting on the weight, so don’t expect to lose weight within a few months after delivery. And don’t try extreme dieting to lose weight, especially if you are breastfeeding. Ideally, you need around 500 – 600 extra calories per day to give your baby adequate nutrition, that’s on top of the average 2,000 calories you need to support your body functions and maintain your health.

Here are some tips for losing weight safely.

Consume enough calories that will support your health and well- being – Nutritionists advice breastfeeding mothers to consume at least 2,000 calories daily. The calories should come from a combination of the basic food groups, grains, dairy, vegetables, fruits, meat and fish. If you eat less than the recommended calories while breastfeeding, you’ll not have enough calories to support your health as well as provide your baby with enough nutrition.
Be realistic – Aim to lose weight gradually, around two to three pounds per month. If you are overweight before your pregnancy, you need to lose more than that, less if you were underweight.
Aim to exercise for an hour daily – You don’t have to go to the gym to exercise. Walking briskly for an hour is ideal as it can burn around 500 calories. Plus, it’s great way for you and your baby to get some fresh air. Swimming is also very effective and one hour of breaststroke will burn around 734 calories.
Finally, record your progress. If your weight is going down, you are feeling good, your baby is thriving and your milk supply is not dropping, then you have reached your ideal calorie level.

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