Weight Loss After Pregnancy: Postpartum Exercise & Nutrition Tips

Postpartum Exercise & Nutrition Tips

By: Adeline Gjergji

Losing weight after giving birth isn’t always easy, but it’s achievable with the right approach. It is advisable to aim for your pre-pregnancy weight within 6 to 12 months after giving birth.

Typically, women tend to lose around half of their baby weight within 6 weeks after childbirth (postpartum), and the remaining weight usually comes off gradually over the following months.

Adopting a nutritious diet and engaging in regular physical activity will assist you in losing the extra pounds. Additionally, breastfeeding can contribute to postpartum weight loss.

Here are some simple but effective tips to help you lose weight after pregnancy.

Postpartum Physical Activity Recommendations

Physical activity is a key factor in shedding weight, however, the exercise regimen of a new mother will need to undergo some modifications compared to what it was prior to her pregnancy, at least for some time.

Maintaining your physical fitness is crucial not just for its aesthetic value but also for your overall health. That’s why, there are health insurance plans in Switzerland that provide coverage for gym memberships, yoga classes, and wellness centers. These initiatives aim to prevent health issues and promote a healthier lifestyle by encouraging individuals to prioritize their well-being.

When getting back to exercise starts off with simple actions such as walking. Over time, these can evolve into postnatal exercises designed to strengthen the abdominal and pelvic floor muscles, which might have weakened during pregnancy. The intensity of these exercises can gradually be increased, but it’s crucial to stay attuned to your body’s signals and halt immediately if any discomfort is felt.

The doctor may advise resuming your regular exercise routine six weeks after giving birth in certain situations. However, it’s important to note that your body will continue to heal for approximately six additional weeks after a typical vaginal birth. It is generally recommended for most new mothers to wait at least 12 weeks before gradually reintroducing more intense workouts like running or weightlifting.

The recommended 12-week timeframe primarily applies to patients who experienced a typical pregnancy and delivered vaginally. However, if you underwent a C-section, had pre-pregnancy obesity, postpartum depression, diastasis recti (abdominal muscle separation), excessive pelvic scar tissue, or perineal tearing, your doctor might advise waiting longer before resuming intense exercises.

However, the need to wait does not imply complete inactivity. Refraining from any exercise will only prolong the time it takes to resume more vigorous workouts.

Low-risk activities to begin with:

Abdominal Exercises

Engage your abdominal muscles, then select a comfortable position such as sitting, standing, lying on your side, lying on your back, or kneeling on all fours. Contract your lower abdomen towards your spine, maintaining the position for 5 seconds while breathing normally. Then, relax and repeat the exercise 5 to 10 times. You can incorporate this practice into your daily routine, such as when you’re lifting your baby, transitioning in and out of bed, or sitting down and standing up.

Pelvic Floor Exercises

For pelvic floor exercises, assume a seated position with a slight forward lean and maintain a good posture. Contract and lift the muscles around your vagina, as if you’re attempting to halt the flow of urine. Hold this contraction for a count of 5, then release and relax. If holding for 5 seconds is challenging, don’t worry; hold for as long as you can and gradually increase the duration as it becomes more manageable. Repeat this exercise approximately 10 to 15 times for optimal results.

Additional exercises to utilize:

  • Walking
  • Swimming
  • Aqua aerobics (once bleeding has ceased)
  • Yoga
  • Pilates
  • Low-impact aerobics
  • Lightweight training
  • Cycling

You can easily incorporate exercise into your daily routine by engaging in physical activities when meeting friends or while performing other tasks.

For instance, you can do pelvic floor exercises while breastfeeding or driving, opt for walking with your baby in a pram instead of driving, and perform abdominal exercises on the floor next to your baby.

However, it is recommended to avoid heavy weights, sit-ups, and high-intensity aerobic activities like running and tennis for at least 3 months.

Postpartum Nutrition Recommendations

Consuming a minimum of five servings of fruits and vegetables per day is recommended. If you are considering weight loss, various assistance options are accessible, such as individual or group support.

If you decide to join a weight-loss group, inform them about your recent childbirth and whether you are breastfeeding, as they can provide appropriate guidance tailored to your needs.

To maintain a healthy and balanced diet, it is essential to consume a variety of foods. Incorporate fruits, vegetables, grains, protein foods, and dairy into your daily meals.

Staying adequately hydrated is crucial, particularly if you are breastfeeding. Aim to drink plenty of fluids, roughly 6-10 glasses per day. Opt for water, milk, and fruit juice as your main choices of liquids.

Include protein-rich foods in your diet, such as milk, cheese, yogurt, meat, fish, and beans. Protein plays a vital role in your post-childbirth recovery and helps keep your body strong.

If you are under 18 or had a history of being underweight prior to pregnancy, it is important to increase your protein intake. Make sure to prioritize fruits and vegetables in your daily meals. Strive to fill half of your plate with these nutritious choices.

Fruits and vegetables contain essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber that contribute to overall health and well-being. Before consuming them, always remember to wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly under running cold water.

When aiming to lose weight after giving birth, it is crucial to do so safely. Consult with your doctor for guidance on safe weight loss methods. Losing weight too quickly can have an impact on your breast milk supply. Avoid the use of diet pills, as they often contain harmful substances that can be passed to your baby through breast milk.

If you are breastfeeding, continuing to take prenatal vitamins is advisable. Your doctor can prescribe these vitamins, which may be covered by your health insurance. Prenatal vitamins can provide essential nutrients to support your health and your baby’s well-being.

While occasional indulgence in junk foods like soda, cookies, donuts, potato chips, and french fries is acceptable, it is important to limit their consumption. These foods should not replace the role of healthy and nutritious options in your diet. Prioritize a balanced and wholesome eating pattern for optimal health.

Breastfeeding and Weight Loss Tips

Losing weight gradually at a rate of 500g per week is considered safe and appropriate while breastfeeding. It is important to avoid rapid weight loss through extreme dieting, as it may result in insufficient nutrient transfer to your baby.

Breastfeeding not only benefits your baby but can also aid in post-pregnancy weight loss by utilizing your body’s fat stores and energy to nourish your little one. It is common to experience a weight loss plateau until after you have stopped breastfeeding. However, generally, women who breastfeed for several months tend to shed pregnancy weight faster compared to those who do not breastfeed.

Breastfeeding may increase your appetite. It is advisable to focus on consuming additional vegetables, protein, and other nutritious foods while minimizing processed foods high in fat or sugar. Staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water is also essential during this time.


Weight loss after pregnancy is a journey that requires patience, dedication, and a focus on both exercise and nutrition.

Incorporating regular exercise into the postpartum routine can help boost metabolism, improve mood, and aid in weight loss.

That being said, postpartum weight loss is a gradual process that requires a combination of exercise and healthy eating. It is important to listen to the body, be patient, and prioritize self-care.

By adopting sustainable lifestyle changes and seeking support, new mothers can achieve their weight loss goals while maintaining their overall health and well-being.

About Theresa Duncan

Originally from Detroit, MI, Theresa has been offering health and fitness advice for the last 30 years while working as an engineer. She decided to turn her passion into a profession, and finds nothing more satisfying than helping others reach their health and fitness goals.

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