Thursday, April 22, 2010

Lets loose it! Postpartum weight loss.

There seems to be an increasing trend amongst new mothers. They have a baby, and immediately look better than they did before! How is that? How does that work? Whilst it might be possible for celebrities like Nicole Richie & Victoria Beckham to dedicate time (and possibly lack of food) and effort to their appearance with the aid of helpers, trainers, nutritionalists, nannies etc, people like you and I don't generally have that luxury.

There have been many published studies on the effectiveness in the use of Chinese Herbal Medicine & Acupuncture to successfully treat weight loss. It isn't advisable to lose weight during pregnancy for most. However, postpartum, there are healthy ways that ensure things do 'go back to normal.'

After having Olivia, I am quite proud to say I felt normal by the 6 month mark. I was careful with how my pregnancy progressed and ate (mostly) the right foods, exercised and enjoyed being pregnant. After having her, I breastfed - one of the things that I attribute to assisting me to restore my old self as well as general good health and lifestyle.

It is not advised for a new mother to start any type of weight loss for the first 6-8 weeks. This is so that she can recover all her energy and heal from the birth. From this time on (8 weeks) it is safe for the mother to aim to loose 1-2kg per month. Trying to lose weight any quicker will most likely affect milk supply and you know what they say - a happy mummy = a happy baby! Slow and steady weight loss also means that it stays off. For the formula feeding mother, this still applies as her energy is just as much required for her baby.

Research shows that regular acupuncture reduces body weight by 8-10% within 6 months. In combination with this, it is advisable for mothers walking, pushing the pram or with baby in a sling, light cleaning, cooking, yoga and most of all playing with her baby. Incorporating these things into your lifestyle is important - whats more, doing this means it becomes part of your routine, rather than being a chore.

Postpartum mothers can return to their pre-pregnancy weight in about 7-9 months. Combining the use of acupuncture, diet, exercise and activity and sometimes herbal supplements, it is nice to know that this is possible and we can have our bodies back in the same amount of time it took to make a baby!


  1. Thanks for a great post Nat.
    With regards to wearing a sling and weight loss, wearing your baby while walking or while doing housework such as vacuuming or dusting helps you burn more calories as your body is working harder carrying the extra weight of the baby. Using a sling helps strengthen your abdominal muscles it relies on your centre of gravity which is your abs.
    Baby wearing also makes for a happier baby who gets to experience and learn more watching the world go by as you get your exercise and in turn means he is less clingy and whingy. He also benefits from the endorphins created when you exercise making you a happier mummy. There are a heck of alot more reason why using a sling is beneficial and you can read about them and purchase beautiful handmade slings here

  2. Thanks Nat, it was a major concern for me because I actually gained 15-18 Kgs after I had Avaleigh and this devastated me, I am about to head back to TCM now and really wish I had gone back earlier. I have now lost around 6-7 Kgs and am finally lighter then I was at full term...So I think it will take at least another 6-9 months to get back to my pre pregnancy weight...I am so energised now, walking and running (I couldn't even do this before I had Avaleigh) doing yoga on weekends and carrying Avaleigh around the house in a sling (once week I did all my house work with Avaleigh in the sling and I lost 1.5Kgs) has really helped...great topic!!!

  3. Thanks Nat! Jocelyn is just a month old now and I'm keen to get started exercising mostly for my own sanity but also to lose some kilos. Luckily I hardly put on any weight during my pregnancy and am back to my pre-pregnancy weight now but knowing that I was carrying more kilos than necessary before conception I still have some work to do before I reach my goal.

    I do agree with you though, there's too much pressure on women to look great too soon after birth.


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