Weight gain following childbirth is an experience shared by countless women around the globe, and it’s an issue deeply entwined with societal perceptions and personal self-image. According to a study, only 20% of women reach their pre-pregnancy weight within the first three months after giving birth. It means nearly 70% of women don’t lose their pregnancy weight by their baby’s first birthday. (McKinley et al., 2018)
Gaining weight after delivery is an issue that includes physiological, psychological, and societal factors. However, in this modern era, weight gain or obesity is not just a concern for postpartum women; it’s a broader health issue.
For those struggling with obesity, medications like Wegovy Pens offer a possible solution. However, it’s important to note that such treatments are strictly forbidden for pregnant and breastfeeding women. In this blog, we will discuss why do women gain weight after pregnancy and the strategies to manage it. Let’s get started!
Gaining weight during and after pregnancy is an utterly natural and expected phenomenon. The phrase 'fat and pregnant’ has unfortunately been used in less than kind contexts. But in reality, weight gain is a sign that the body is working hard to support the life growing inside.
Let’s understand the physiological reasons that give us clarity on why the scale number goes up postpartum:
Hormones, call them chemical messengers or proteins. They instruct various body functions. During pregnancy and after childbirth, levels of certain hormones increase, mainly progesterone and prolactin.
[Progesterone: It helps maintain the uterine lining for a fertilized egg to implant and supports the placenta and fetal development during pregnancy.]
These hormonal fluctuations slow down metabolism. A slower metabolism means the body doesn’t burn calories as efficiently and quickly. It leads to weight retention. A study from the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology found that higher progesterone levels in pregnant women lead to an increase in fat storage. It makes sure there’s enough energy reserve for the baby.
The first noticeable change during pregnancy is breast enlargement. This isn’t just for aesthetics; it’s the body preparing itself to provide nutrition to the newborn.
According to the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine, an average infant consumes 450–1,200 ml of milk daily. Production of milk exceeding this range indicates hyperlactation. This means the mammary glands are working overtime, which adds a few pounds.
The areas where the body stores this fat include the abdomen, thighs, and hips. These areas serve as strategic reserves, ensuring mothers have enough energy for themselves and their breastfeeding infants.
Did You Know?
[Breastfeeding is an activity that can burn between 500 to 700 calories a day.]
It’s natural for expecting mothers to reduce their activity levels due to discomfort or doctor’s advice. But less activity leads to muscle loss, which further slows metabolism.
[Muscle Atrophy: The shrinking and withering of muscle tissue.]
While the body’s natural processes play a significant role in postpartum weight gain, behavioral and lifestyle factors also come into the picture. External factors, combined with internal changes, lead to more pronounced weight retention. The factors are as follows:
Breastfeeding requires energy, which translates to additional calorie intake. Having a baby is a joyous occasion, but it’s not without its stresses. Many women use food as a comforting resource. For example, while a breastfeeding mother might need an extra 500 calories a day, she might unintentionally eat more than that, leading to weight gain.
A disrupted sleep pattern, thanks to midnight feedings and baby care, affects the hormones that regulate hunger. Lack of proper sleep increases the production of ghrelin, the ‘hunger hormone,’ leading to increased appetite and potentially to overeating. With this, the exhaustion that comes with compromised sleep results in reduced physical activity, and then it contributes to weight gain.
Addressing concerns ranging from an obese pregnancy bump to understanding the obesity in pregnancy risks is essential to approach weight management holistically, considering physical, nutritional, and mental aspects. Let’s explore some strategies to help in this journey:
Foods including a variety of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains, consuming in a limited amount will definitely help you lose weight. For instance, while figuring out how to lose stomach fat while pregnant, one might discover that simply paying more attention to what they eat can make a huge difference.
With eating mindfully, staying hydrated aids in digestion. It also helps in managing hunger. Drinking water before meals helps in eating less and thus managing portion sizes.
Walking is a low-impact exercise which is suitable for most new mothers. It can be as simple as a stroll in the park with the baby.
Mental and emotional states play significant roles. Seek for professional help is as crucial as maintaining physical health. You can opt for these ways:
[People who want to lose weight can do so with a proper diet, exercise, and medications like Wegovy Pens. Women who are pregnant and are planning to get pregnant must not take this medication. You can buy this and all your medications from the best Canadian online pharmacy.]
Every woman’s postpartum journey is distinct. While some physiological and behavioral factors are common, the experience and pace of recovery differ for each individual. It’s pivotal to realize that this period isn’t solely about shedding pounds but appreciating the incredible transformation one’s body has undergone.
Now that we have understood ‘why do women gain weight after pregnancy,’ embracing this chapter with patience, understanding, and abundant self-love is crucial. After all, the post-pregnancy phase is not just about returning to one’s old self but evolving into an even stronger version with newfound wisdom and resilience.
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