Know The Truth About Weight Gain after Pregnancy

Written by Evan Jensen

Most women realize that shedding those extra pounds after giving birth is not too easy. According to the International Journal of Obesity weight gain of more than 8lbs is common. Unfortunately, the post pregnancy weight gain also known as postpartum weight gain is related to numerous health issues. If you find yourself with excessive weight gain after pregnancy then remember to eat right, do exercises to stay fit.

According to researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) found, the post pregnancy period is one of the three periods in women’s life which put her to risk for weight gain. As per the statistics, if a women isn’t able to lose weight within six months after delivering child, she is more likely to keep up those pounds. This will increase the risk to complications in later pregnancies.

The researchers also found that women who were obese before pregnancy were at risk for substantial weight gain. They also found that African-American women are at greater risk for weight gain than Caucasian women.

Causes of Weight Gain After Pregnancy

Weight Gain After Pregnancy

When women become pregnant her placenta is developed. This leads to shifts in the body’s internal operations. This shift of mechanics helps protect and develop a newer life. The placenta produces a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (known as hCG). This acts as protective layer for the foetus. The hCG enters into women’s body through blood stream and controls food digestion, metabolism, nutrition and energy distribution.

While outside pregnancy these functions are controlled by hypothalamus which resides inside brain.

Professor Dave Grattan of British Society of Neuroendocrinology wrote an interesting study about shifts in women’s body during pregnancy. The hormone secretion control shifts contributes to drastic changes in mood and behavior which accompany pregnancy and child birth.

The hCG overrides hypothalamus which redirects all energy and nutrition from food to your baby. The left over nutrition goes to expectant mother. If you don’t eat enough food the hCG will order hypothalamus to release the fat from belly area to break down the nutrients and energy thereby sends it to your baby. This ensures growth and development of baby. This mechanism hacks functions of women’s body which controls their life supply.

A Japanese study published in Clinical Endocrinology that 5-10% of pregnant women develop inflammation. The thyroid abnormalities cause postpartum weight gain. Some symptoms include fatigue, pain and aches and inability for weight loss. Another study conducted by Harvard University found that lack of sleep in new mothers (less than 5 hours per night) lead to weight retention.

The International Journal of Obesity found that socioeconomic factors like low income also contribute to weight gain. When women learn about pregnancy, they quit smoking. This could also play a role in postpartum weight gain. The sooner women return to their work outside her home after pregnancy, the closer she is to lose weight.

When the Trouble with Weight Begins?

This trouble begins right at delivery when the hCG is gone along with the placenta. After months the hypothalamus which works for baby forgets how to take care of own body. The recovery after pregnancy takes about two weeks.

Postpartum Recovery Takes An Unpleasant Turn

During recovery period, women don’t have enough good night sleep. She isn’t able to rest properly or deal well with normal life functions. The high stress causes the adrenal glands to plump more Cortisol into the blood stream. This is a hormone which works completely anti compared to the hCG hormones. This sends signals to the hypothalamus which starts storing food and converts the fat by storing it into your belly area.

When this chaos occurs for long time then this condition becomes chronic. This is the main cause for steady weight gain. Over time this leads to overweight and has higher risk on health.

Health Concerns

The weight gain after pregnancy lead to type-2 diabetes which affects the way the body breaks down sugar. Weight gain post pregnancy also leads to increased risk of heart disease which is the leading cause of death for people in the US.

Postpartum Weight Loss Program

How to lose weight gained after pregnancy? All you need is to follow the tips below to reduce excess weight after pregnancy. This will help stabilize body’s function of women thereby get her back to happy mood.

  • Don’t Diet: This could derail your post pregnancy weight loss goals.
  • Include Super Foods: This fulfills the need of nutrition especially in nursing mothers. Choose foods consisting of nutrients which are lighter in fat and calories.
  • Breastfeed: Some studies found that breastfeeding totally help you return to your pre-baby weight faster.
  • Drink Up: This prevents from dehydration thereby fills you up. This prevents you from overeating which in turn helps speeding up your metabolism.
  • Move It: Although diet is important, it’s only a part of your post-pregnancy weight loss plan. You need to incorporate strength training exercises and aerobics after pregnancy to burn calories. This also keeps your muscles and bones strong.
  • Get Some Sleep: Eight hours sleep with baby summoning you might seem impossible. Sleep deprivation could make weight loss post pregnancy difficult. Catch as many naps during the day and go to bed early.

Contributor : Evan Jensen ()

This Article Has Been Published on December 3, 2013 and Last Modified on December 25, 2018

Evan Jensen is a renowned American Nutritionist, Diet Expert and health writer. He specializes in writing about diet, nutrition, exercise and preventive care. He personally has participated in Marathons, Mountain Endurance Races and many other sporting activities.

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