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Post Childbirth: You And Your Figure

New mum endulging

In the first days after the birth you’ll shed a lot of weight quickly as all fluid you’ve retained begins to pass through your body in the form of urine and sweat. As the amount of circulating blood begins to regulate and your uterus contracts, you’ll lose more weight still. As your levels of the hormone progesterone in your body fall, your smooth muscle tone increases throughout your body. After this though, your weight loss starts to slow down a bit.

Your belly may be wrinkly and flabby at the moment and you still won’t really have a waist to speak of for a while. It will probably take a little time to lose all your baby weight but as soon as you feel strong enough you can start doing abdominal exercises. Starting these as soon as you can will also lower your risk of developing back pain.

After you stop breastfeeding, your breasts should return to almost their size and shape before pregnancy. However they are likely to be a bit less pert. Contrary to popular belief, it’s actually changes in pregnancy, and not breastfeeding, that causes this. If you decide not to breastfeed for any reason, your levels of prolactin (the milk production hormone) will fall. Your breasts will stop producing milk and over the course of several months, they will return more or less to their pre-pregnancy size.

Woman preparing food

Try not to get too down if your body doesn’t revert to its pre-pregnancy weight straightaway – this is to be expected. Your body has gone through the hardship of pregnancy and birth and needs time. Some extra fat is usually stored for breastfeeding energy.

It’s helpful if you can stay positive about it all. Remember it took nine months for you to put on all that pregnancy weight – it’s hardly surprising if it takes the same amount of time at least to lose it. Combine exercise with healthy eating and you should be able to slim down again.