Postpartum Hormones and Weight Loss
Updated: Mar 31, 2020
We've all heard "I just want to get my body back" after pregnancy.
Whether you've said it, a family member or friend has said it, or whoever, it has been said about your body or the body of someone you know --- reinforcing the idea that you have now 'lost something'.
We have a really bad relationship with body acceptance in our culture, and that does not exclude pregnant and breastfeeding moms.
The minute a woman pushes her baby out in the miracle that is life, she is constantly pressured to get her body to look how it used to, or better yet, more 'fit'.
It really is unfortunate because we tend to skip over everything that you just did! You created a human being and then BIRTHED IT! Some pretty talented stuff right there...
We will never stop talking about the incredible job the female body has and how incredibly it performs!
We understand that body acceptance can be really hard postpartum.
You are healing and your body is returning to its state 'pre-pregnancy' (allowing bodily functions to return back to 'normal') and it can be 100% overwhelming.
Plus, there are so many hormones at play, where your pregnancy hormones continue to decrease and your breastfeeding hormones are taking over, mixed in with all of you regular hormones as a female. Needless to say, its a bit of a party going on in there...
At this point you are probably asking yourself one of two questions:
Does breastfeeding actually help to reduce weight?
Can my body even lose weight with this hormone cocktail going on?
All valid questions, so let's dive right in...
Breastfeeding does require more calories than pregnancy, but not by a huge amount. Its about 400-500 calories per day-- which really isn't a lot.
This minor calorie deficit can cause some women to lose some weight accompanied by some light exercises when cleared, but will definitely take some time.
For many women it can take six to nine months to return to pre-pregnancy weight. But many women hold onto a few extra pounds after each pregnancy that is difficult to lose. This depends on a number of factors including diet, lifestyle, genetics, etc.
Women who gained over the recommended amount of weight can hold onto 10-12 lbs more than their pre-pregnancy weight.
The potential weight loss effects of breastfeeding are typically seen three to six months after delivery when milk production peaks.
The hormone prolactin, however, actually works to stimulate your appetite so that you are getting enough nutrients to make milk for your baby and feed yourself. This may leave you more hungry than you expected during this time!
On top of that, part of what your body is doing while healing is pulling things back to size. Your uterus expands as you may know, to accommodate for your little one. Even after birth, many women still look 'pregnant' because their uterus is still stretched out. Breastfeeding actually helps the uterus to contract and move back to normal size.
When it comes to hormones and weight loss---we are ALL unique! Our bodies all react differently postpartum.
We would not be very good dietitians if we gave you one straight answer because everyone is different. On top of all the things we just mentioned there are numerous other factors that could increase or decrease weight loss.
The one thing we do want you to know-- is that its okay! You and your baby are healthy and happy, the weight loss will come... you have plenty of time to meet your physical goals in the future.
What we should focus on is the time we have with our baby's because they grow up QUICKLY. You don't want to miss even a second!
How are you loving your body today?
What are some things you could do to love your body more?
Reply and send your answers to firstname.lastname@example.org, we would love to hear from you!
Your health today is a LIFETIME of health for you AND your baby.
Until next time!
Coaches Cassie and Mikayla
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