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5 Tips for Slimming Down Post-Pregnancy

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5 Tips for Slimming Down Post-Pregnancy
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Pregnancy changes a woman’s body. For many, this wonderful life-event is accompanied by unwelcome weight gain. According to the experts, it’s important to lose those excess baby pounds and get back to your pre-pregnancy weight, or lower if you were overweight to begin with. This becomes crucial if you’re planning to have another baby at some point in the future.

Breastfeeding for Weight Loss?

Breastfeeding is one of the best ways to help start shifting those extra pounds. However, the Association for the Study of Obesity says that women shouldn’t assume that breastfeeding will shift all the extra weight gained during pregnancy. Many women find that breastfeeding increases their appetite dramatically, which can lead to them eating more. This is often combined with less activity, so some new mums actually find themselves gaining weight rather losing it.

Lower your BMI for a Healthy Pregnancy

If you’re planning on having another baby, managing your weight plays an important role. Research indicates that a higher Body Mass Index (BMI) can lead to complications for both mother and baby. A Swedish study finds that the risk of pre-eclampsia and diabetes increases if a woman’s BMI increases by just one to two points from the beginning of her first pregnancy to the beginning of her second pregnancy. A rise of more than three BMI units, for example from a BMI of 26 to 29, increased the risk of stillbirth.

5 Tips for Sliming Down Post-Pregnancy

It’s stressful enough being a new mum, without having to worry about dieting as well! Thankfully there are some simple steps you can follow that will help you naturally and gradually lose weight and keep your body healthy:

  • Breastfeed—not only is it a beautiful way to bond with your child, it will also kick-start your weight loss as you need around 500 extra calories each day to produce breast milk. Speak to your midwife for advice and information.
  • Move your body—although new mums are often advised not to diet or exercise when they are breastfeeding, studies have shown that neither healthy dieting nor exercising have any adverse effects. Gentle exercise, such as going for a leisurely walk, has proven beneficial effects on health.
  • Nourish your body—breastfeeding increases your requirements for many vitamins and minerals, but even if you’ve decided not to breastfeed, a healthy diet packed with nutritious foods is essential. Iron in particular is necessary during pregnancy and childbirth, as low levels can lead to anemia. Aim to eat high amounts of nutrient dense foods such as vegetables, pulses, nuts, seeds, lean meat and dairy.
  • Buy organic—the chemicals and toxins found in our foods from intensive agricultural practices[1] are known to cause harm to the body, and are also linked to weight gain.[2] Avoiding these is particularly important if you’re breastfeeding, as everything you eat also passes to your baby. Buying high quality organic food helps reduce your and your baby’s exposure to damaging toxins.
  • Avoid processed foods—the majority are packed with sugar, refined carbohydrates, additives and trans-fats that are known to cause weight gain and diseases. Eating wholesome, unprocessed foods is the best way to start your journey to a slimmer, healthier you.

When you become a mother, your focus naturally shifts from yourself to your baby. Thankfully, losing weight after pregnancy doesn’t have to be difficult. Indeed, following the tips listed above will help you to easily get back to a healthier weight. A fit and healthy mother is the best gift you can give your child.

Note: H&L advises to check with your GP or midwife before dramatically changing your eating habits or starting an exercise program after having a baby.