Post-Natal Weight Gain

Post-natal weight gain refers to the excess weight that ladies put on after giving birth. During pregnancy, ladies usually put on about 10 to 30kg and their physique expands outwards by about 20% to 50%. Fats accumulate all over the body, the breasts will start to sag, skin around the stomach will loosen and the shoulders will take on a “rounder”, fleshier appearance. Water retention will also be apparent in the thighs.

If one watches her diet and exercise regularly, it shouldn’t take more than a couple of months to get back in shape. If not, professional help is required.

Post-natal weight gain refers to the excess weight that ladies put on after giving birth. During pregnancy, ladies usually put on about 10 to 30kg and their physique expands outwards by about 20% to 50%. Fats accumulate all over the body, the breasts will start to sag, skin around the stomach will loosen and the shoulders will take on a “rounder”, fleshier appearance. Water retention will also be apparent in the thighs.

If one watches her diet and exercise regularly, it shouldn’t take more than a couple of months to get back in shape. If not, professional help is required.

Causes
  • Overeating - Many mothers mistakenly believe that they should eat double the amount when they are pregnant in order to ‘eat for two’. However, the average pregnant woman needs only about 300 more calories a day to provide baby with the nutrients he or she needs. Excess calories will be stored as fats in the mother’s body.
  • Besides, many ladies believe that they should eat more during the confinement period to re-nourish their body. However, if too much food has been consumed, the calories that have not been burned will store itself into the pockets in the skin, thus becoming deposited fat.
  • Water retention - As your body recovers after giving birth, the extra tissue, blood vessels and fluid needed during pregnancy need time to be dissolved and expelled. Some of the fluid will build up in the tissues around your body until it can be passed out.
  • Hormonal changes - Pregnancy can cause hormonal imbalance, causing the metabolic rate of fat cells to dysfunction, thus causing overweight problems.
  • Stress - Becoming a mother is an exciting yet stressful situation. Stress triggers a chemical reaction in the body, releasing hormones including cortisol which increases appetite and causes the body to store more fat around the mid-section.
Consequences
  • Post-natal weight gain is extremely detrimental to a new mum's confidence and mental-well-being, adding on to the stress that she has to put up with caring for the baby.
  • Besides, the extra pounds make one feel breathless and tired very easily.
  • The stress that mothers face while dealing with post-natal weight gain also causes the body to release the hormone cortisol, which increases appetite and hence aggravates one's weight gain. At the same time, depression results in emotional eating or a lack of motivation to exercise.
Treatment
  • Experts suggest that 6 to 8 weeks after giving birth is the best time to commence on a weight management programme. If a suitable treatment is sought, chances of regaining a slim, beautiful figure can be as high as 100%.
  • Some ladies think that they should wait till they decide not to have any more babies before they slim down once and for all. However, recovery after the first birth for most women is extremely fast and successful. Experts advise that baby weight should ideally be shed off within 6 months. If not, the fat gained may become stubborn fat; and more time and effort will be required to lose those extra pounds. 
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