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Is weight retention inevitable after pregnancy?

Updated: Mar 1, 2022

There are times in our life that are associated with difficult to shift weight gain. Many of these will be familiar and include:

- Moving out of home for the first time

- Being married

- Pregnancy and beyond

- Menopause

- Stressful life events

- Injury and illness

Becoming a new parent: pregnancy weight retention.

One of the most significant events associated with an increased difficulty to lose excess body weight is becoming a parent. It is normal and healthy to gain weight during pregnancy and most women lose the majority of their “baby kilos” after delivery and in the following year or two, but there are often some persistent kilos that do not shift.

Population studies tend to suggest that most women should be able to lose their extra weight by six months after they give birth. 12 months seems to be the upper limit for how long it should take for women to lose most of their pregnancy weight, in order to decrease their risk of chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease and cut their risk of retaining excess weight longer term.

Being a parent: the juggle of priorities.

Adding on a second pregnancy with further life adjustments such as less time and energy then it is no wonder that weight gain associated with becoming a parent is common.

Although it's possible for most women to lose most of their pregnancy weight without making major changes in their lives, the natural shift in women's lifestyles that happen after they give birth introduces new challenges.

What have women told us helps them balance their mental load with achieving their lifestyle goals?

Scientifically speaking we know that evidence shows us that both nutrition and physical activity play an important role in the weight-loss process for anyone attempting to lose weight, and this includes following childbirth.

But what does this mean in real life? It's not so much that women need to make major changes, but they need to figure out how to fit in the healthy eating and activities they used to do.

Easier said than done, right? When we have spoken with women who have managed this juggle they have told us their secrets. Women who ‘do well’ [in the postnatal period] benefited from a plan which gave them focus, structure and solutions. Women mentioned they felt this ‘set them up for success’.

How can a Lifestyle Metabolic Dietitian help me?

Our specialist dietitians will work with you to plan your dietary needs, compare how you are going with what is recommended for good health, and decrease your chance of not losing your ‘baby’ weight.

We will review your needs and interests, tailoring information to your lifestyle and preferences. Dietitians are trained to take a key role in assisting women to maximise their nutrition during times of increase needs.

From breastfeeding to sleep-deprived, low energy days, dietitians are skilled in fitting your needs around your situation. Make an appointment with one here.

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