Pregnancy, Weight Loss

Five little known facts about pregnancy weight gain

Even for the most body-secure among us, gaining anywhere from 20 to 40 pounds during pregnancy is no picnic. Sure, we have days where we are full of energy and glowing and ready to flaunt our adorable baby bumps. But we also have days, especially in the third trimester, where we feel less like mama-goddesses and more like sweaty, frumpy, nothing-fits-anymore messes.

To take the edge off, I turned to the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) report on pregnancy weight gain, which provides the evidence base for their widely-referenced weight gain guidelines:

  • Underweight: Gain 28-40 pounds
  • Normal weight: Gain 25-35 pounds
  • Overweight: Gain 15-25 pounds
  • Obese: Gain 11-20 pounds

Some of what I learned from their report was outright reassuring, like that a sudden bump up in weight in the second trimester is common and does not imply that you will continue to gain weight at a fast clip. Other facts, like that 15-30 percent of the fat gained during pregnancy goes straight to our thighs, were less reassuring. Continue reading “Five little known facts about pregnancy weight gain”

Breastfeeding, Weight Loss

Don't Count on Breastfeeding to Help You Shed Your Baby Weight

Like so many new moms, I was told ad nauseam that breastfeeding melts off baby weight. And not just by random strangers. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). states that breastfeeding leads to an “earlier return to prepregnancy weight”.

Breastfeeding supposedly helps you lose weight, because, as many popular websites, like WebMd claim, “breastfeeding burns extra calories, so it can help you lose pregnancy weight faster.”

Sounds pretty convincing, right?

So when I failed to lose weight while breastfeeding my first child, I was shocked. Weren’t those pregnancy pounds supposed to practically fall off? Why were my pre-pregnancy jeans still relegated to the back of my closet?

By exclusively breastfeeding, I was burning an average of 480 calories a day, but the pregnancy pounds were still clinging to my waist and hips.

So, naturally, I turned to the research, and learned that, like so many other widely alleged benefits of breastfeeding, breastfeeding-aided weight loss is vastly overblown.

My experience was not weird, but completely normal. For most well-nourished women, long-term breastfeeding results in only a trivial amount of extra weight loss by 6 months postpartum, of around 1-2 lbs.

Continue reading “Don't Count on Breastfeeding to Help You Shed Your Baby Weight”