If you’re here, chances are you have just gone through a cesarean section to give birth to a beautiful baby. Bearing a human in your womb for nine months is not a piece of cake. You must have been told to eat what you want and not think much about your weight during pregnancy to give birth to a healthy child, which is not wrong. You did the right thing!
Kudos to you for being a selfless mother.
That being said, it is crucial to get rid of some extra kilos as the baby is born, and you crazily want that bikini body back. There must be so many factors influencing you to get back in shape involving your self-esteem, health concerns, societal pressure, and what not? But you have to keep in mind that although shedding extra kilos is what you need; your body needs time to heal too.
Since cesarean deliveries demand to be treated with more care than normal deliveries, you must understand that a healthy weight loss may take some time. Once your body gets that strength back, you are all set to begin losing weight. 1
Statistics to keep in mind before we move further:
The average weight of a full-term baby is around 7-8 lbs.
The amniotic sac (where the baby lives inside the womb) weighs about 5-8 lbs.
Which makes it around 16 lbs.
This is possibly the maximum weight a woman immediately sheds right after her child’s birth, whereas the rest of the unhealthy weight will require some balanced efforts to leave you for good. 2
Below mentioned tips and tricks will help you regain your pre-pregnancy belly without being hard on yourself.
As old-fashioned as it may sound, breastfeeding has enormous benefits, including strengthening your baby’s immunity and your own health.
A typical make-up of breast milk includes water, carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, vitamins, minerals, immunoglobulins (responsible for building baby’s immunity), hormones, and enzymes. Forming milk with all these vital components for a newborn baby requires a substantial amount of energy. When a mother’s body is subjected to produce milk, it, in turn, loses weight because of massive energy consumption.
Related: How to lose weight after pregnancy
The second factor that facilitates weight loss is the release of oxytocin while suckling. This oxytocin then induces contraction in the muscles of the uterus and helps the uterus shrink.
Health organizations like World Health Organization 3, American Academy of Pediatrics 4, and Center of Disease Control & Prevention 5 strongly recommend breastfeeding for a healthier and disease-free baby and mother.
2 Ditch the Craving! Eat Healthy.
It is needless to say that a changing body might crave unhealthy consumption of certain food products. Here, you need to remain motivated to shed those extra pounds by calculating the right amount of calorie intake with the help of your nutritionist.
You must choose your diet according to your current lactating status, i.e., if you are breastfeeding or not. Since milk formation takes a lot of your body nutrients, and you need the right nutrients to heal, do not opt for intense diet plans.
A list mentioning what to consume and what to avoid will help you choose the perfect diet plan.
Natural meals (including fruits and vegetables)
Eat greens (salad, spinach, avocado)
Whole grains, nuts, and dry fruits
Proteins (chicken, low-fat yogurt, turkey, salmon, pulses)
Fibers (fruits, vegetables, oats, lentils)
Low-fat dairy products
Alcohol (especially if you are a lactating mother)
Unnecessary fats and sugars
3. Drink Plenty of Water
Water makes roughly around 60% of the human body; thus, it is essential to consume a sufficient amount of water for the day to keep your body healthy. Apart from other countless benefits water offers, weight loss is by far the most beneficial for women longing to lose weight after C-section.
According to a review study published in 2019, it was clearly stated that all the data until 2019 supported the hypothesis that more water intake helps reduce body fats in adults. 6
Keeping yourself hydrated fastens metabolism and lessens carbohydrate craving, which plays a significant role in unhealthy weight gain.
A lactating mother must increase her total daily water intake to compensate for the fluid loss during milking.
In case you do not like to drink plain water all the time, you can add more fruits and vegetables to your diet that have greater water content.
4. Do Moderate Exercise
Who can deny the gains of exercising while seeking weight loss?
The smartest way to lose some extra fats is through appropriate exercise and brisk walking.
We must not forget that a cesarean section is an invasive surgical procedure where an incision is made in the mother’s abdomen and uterus to deliver the baby. Doing strenuous exercises right after C-section is NOT RECOMMENDED.
Diastasis Recti is a condition when your muscles are separated and stressed out in the midline of your stomach, forming a C-section belly pooch. Identify if your body shows any signs of diastasis recti; if yes, then add some Diastasis Recti specific exercises to your workout routine.
It is understandable that you may want to lose that bulging belly fat as soon as you possibly can, but not giving your body enough time to heal may result in worsened complications. Once your body is ready and strong enough, you can most definitely start moderate exercises with the permission of your healthcare consultant.
In such cases, walking can serve as the most convenient way of working out since it is more comfortable and yields more sweat from almost every part of the body.
It is, however, extremely useful to wear your post-pregnancy belt before working out to keep your abdomen safe from possible jerks.
5. Be Realistic
While setting your post-C-section weight loss goals, you may idealize a celebrity figure who, right after her delivery, got back to the perfect zero-size in a snap.
Therefore, it is essential to address this dilemma of comparing ourselves to someone who has to appear attractive on the screen to survive. A common woman’s life is not like that of a celebrity, and so is her pregnancy and post-pregnancy affairs.
Celebrities spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to preserve their youthful physical appearance, which for sure an average woman cannot afford.
Hence, keeping your goals achievable is one most important parts of devising your weight loss strategy. Not only celebrities, but you must not compare yourself to even your next-door neighbor who has four kids and a body no less than a supermodel. Because darling, everyone is different, their bodies are unique, and even our fingerprints do not match. How can we expect to heal at the same pace as others?
Embrace your uniqueness! Treat yourself well.
6. Do Not Stress Out
Being a new parent is too demanding, as your newborn is entirely dependent on you. Regardless of the time of day or night, you have to understand your child’s need without him explaining. It becomes a much more daunting task when you are a breastfeeding mother.
Other than the situations mentioned above, post-partum depression and anxiety also contribute to stress.
The overwhelming stress can then make its way into your life, causing you more harm. Under stressful conditions, a hormone named cortisol is released to regulate the stress levels. Although it is essential to survive, the elevated levels of cortisol may disturb metabolism contributing to weight gain.
Under the influence of cortisol, you might crave more unhealthy snacks, sweets, salts, and carbohydrates.
However, identifying your stressors and managing them appropriately can help you enormously. Take out some time for yourself and practice meditation.
Lastly, please acknowledge that you cannot always be in a perfect state of mind and put yourself under undue stress. In such scenarios, never hesitate to seek professional help.7
7. Prioritize Your Sleep
It is obvious that a neonate whose sleep schedule is not yet formed may disturb your sleep patterns too.
You might be surprised to know that lack of adequate sleep can make all your weight loss efforts go in vain. According to NIH (National Institutes of Health) 8, there is a clear connection between sleep deprivation and weight gain. Quoting the research of a group of researchers, NIH stated in their article that sleep debt individuals complained of increased appetite and hunger than those with proper sleep patterns.
This research9 (2016) showed that inadequate sleep activates the brain’s appetite-regulating pathways, the same way marijuana activates the endocannabinoid (eCB) system. The eCB system then plays its role in increasing appetite.
It may be hard to make a proper sleep schedule with your newborn, but it is not impracticable.
With all the tips and tricks to lose weight after C-section, you must remember that you need to take care of yourself first before rushing into instant weight loss plans.
You are recovering from a major surgery that needs not be handled harshly.
The excessive few pounds will eventually shed away, and soon you will be flaunting all your pre-pregnancy outfits.
I hope this article was helpful to you and I hope it gave you the value that you were looking for.
If you have any questions or comments to add, you can leave them below and I will be more than happy to engage with you as normal.