How can I lose weight after child birth?

Accept my sincerest congratulations on the arrival of the new baby. During pregnancy one can gain up to ten kilogrammes, or even more, of weight. The abdomen is stretched and tends to become flabby after child birth.

Dear Doctor,

After giving birth to my third child, losing the weight, especially around my belly, has been impossible. My child is now two years old. It was easy the first two times; I sort of lost the weight with very little effort. The belly fat is my biggest issue. I had a caesarean this time around and so it wasn’t easy getting into actual exercise. How can I lose this fat? Any diets you can recommend?

Barbara

Dear Barbara

Accept my sincerest congratulations on the arrival of the new baby. During pregnancy one can gain up to ten kilogrammes, or even more, of weight. The abdomen is stretched and tends to become flabby after child birth. There may also be an increase in abdominal fat, particularly if one has not been physically very active. The amount of calories needed by a woman is also more during pregnancy and subsequent breastfeeding of the baby. During pregnancy, many women develop craving for some particular type of food. If this is for fatty food or foods with sugar like cakes, candy, chocolates, etcetera, she is bound to eat them more. All these factors sum up to augment the weight of a woman after child birth. In addition, regarding post C-section, there are restrictions on exercises and activities that strain the abdominal muscles. By avoiding these exercises, the abdominal obesity can increase.

Therefore to lose weight after delivery by caesarean section, one should be patient and go naturally and slowly. Do not go on a diet, because calories are needed for breastfeeding. Breastfeeding frequently itself helps to burn some fat. Hence it can be one of the measures to lose weight. Adopt a diet that is high in nutrition and low in calories, that is, avoid a fatty and high sugar diet. Take plenty of fresh fruits, green vegetables, nuts and low calorie milk and whole grain products.

Exercise and a diet plan go hand-in-hand in efforts to lose weight. Exercises like brisk walking, light jogging, yoga, among others, are useful. Start any exercise, do it regularly, increase the frequency and duration gradually. Do not do any exercise to the limit of exhaustion. Avoid being sedentary throughout the day and move about the house, working or just strolling. Regarding exercises involving the abdominal muscles (stretching or push ups), start them at least six to eight weeks after a C-section. Consult your doctor before starting these exercises about which would be more suitable for you.

Try to lose one to two kilogrammes per month. Drastic reduction in weight will make you feel fatigued and exhausted; something you would want to avoid when there is a baby to take care of in the house.

Dr. Rachna Pande is a specialist
in internal medicine.
rachna212002@yahoo.

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