A healthy living blog from Marshfield Clinic Health System

Can you get your body back after pregnancy?

Mom stretching by toddler on floor - Body back after pregnancy

Focus on your fitness and nutrition goals to healthfully lose weight after pregnancy.

Truthfully, it depends.

“Some women never get back to pre-pregnancy weight. Others lose baby weight in 6 months. And there’s women who vary in weight gain and weight loss per baby,” said Dr. Melissa Stoffel, a Marshfield Clinic Health System OB-GYN physician.

Focus on your fitness and nutrition goals to healthfully lose weight after pregnancy.

Fitness goals to start: First four weeks

Your uterus is enlarged during the first four weeks after delivery. This means walking is the only exercise you should attempt.

Those who were avid exercisers can probably speed walk to start.

Those who did not exercise may need to begin with short, leisurely walks.

Do what feels comfortable.

“Returning to exercise postpartum partially depends on what the patient did for exercise before pregnancy or during. Walk at a pace that feels comfortable to you,” Stoffel said.

If you had restrictions during your pregnancy and could not exercise, you may find it difficult to get back into your routine. It’s okay to take it slow.

Fitness goals going forward: After four weeks

“Exercise is great for mental health, and, unless specifically given by your provider, there are no restrictions after four weeks,” she said.

Consider a routine with various strength and conditioning:

You may notice an increase in bleeding once you intensify your workout routine.

Nutrition goals

You need an additional 500 calories if you’re a breastfeeding mom. Add another 100-200 calories once you begin exercising.

For example, if your normal calorie intake recommendation is 1,800 calories, you’ll need another 500 for breastfeeding plus 100-200 for exercising. This totals out to 2,400-2,500 calories per day.

Increase your calorie intake as your workout regimen intensifies.

Exercise should not reduce your milk supply if you drink plenty of fluids.

Losing baby weight

In reality, you may not lose baby weight or get your body back after pregnancy.

“Your whole world has changed. You have less time and have to learn to balance a newborn with all the other tasks you previously managed,” Stoffel said. “If this means just 5 minutes of a leisurely walk to start, do it. Give yourself time to make progress.”

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