You've carried your baby for several months. Now that she's here, you couldn't be happier to see her beautiful face. Once the two of you settle into a routine, you'll probably be ready to start losing the weight you gained during pregnancy.
Before beginning your quest to shed extra pounds, remember that the weight you gained during pregnancy was a good thing. It helped give your beautiful new baby the nutrients she needed to grow. Now that she's here, it's perfectly fine to try and get back into shape. With your health provider's OK, you can start light exercises as soon as you feel up to it. Just be sure to take things slowly.
It's no secret that a key part of losing weight is to watch what you eat. This means to make healthy food choices as often as you can. Making healthy food choices is not only important in helping you lose weight, but also for your overall health.
When choosing your meal, focus on the following:
Pass on the junk food
Exercise is a key component of a healthy lifestyle before, during and after pregnancy. After pregnancy, most women can start exercising as soon as they feel ready. Talk to your health provider before beginning your exercise routine.
With regular exercise, you'll start to see healthy results. You'll also have more energy, which will help you keep up with caring for a newborn.
Not only does breastfeeding benefit babies, it's also good for moms. Nursing helps new moms burn more calories. This can help moms return to their pre-pregnancy weight faster than if they fed their babies only formula.
Many of today's Hollywood moms get back to their original figure in record time. When you see how great they look, you may feel pressure to drop the baby weight quickly.
The great shapes of celebrity moms may set unrealistic and unhealthy expectations for many women and their partners. Remember: It's not a race to the skinny jeans. Focus on living a healthy lifestyle, and the rest will fall into place.
Last reviewed April 2009
Yes. Breastfeeding may decrease the odds of getting pregnant by delaying the return of a woman's menstrual period. However, breastfeeding does not prevent pregnancy, even if the mother is not getting a period. Many women ovulate before they see their period return. If you want to be certain not to conceive again until you and your partner are ready for another child, talk with your health care provider about when to return to using birth control. Note that some oral contraceptives that contain estrogen may decrease a woman's milk production. If you think this might be a problem for your milk supply, discuss different birth control options with your provider.
Most experts recommend that, after the birth of a child, you should wait at least 18 months before getting pregnant again. This applies both in the case of a vaginal or cesarean birth. Waiting 18 months gives your body the time it needs to fully recover from the last pregnancy. It also helps prevent health risks during your next pregnancy, like premature birth or having a low-birthweight baby. Spacing pregnancies too close together also has been associated with sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Frequent pregnancies can have an impact on the mother's health.
Sometimes it's not possible to wait so long, either because of your age or other reasons. The best thing to do is to talk with your health care provider about what’s best for you.
However, if you're planning to have more than one child, it's best to wait no more than five years between pregnancies.
A cesarean (c-section) wound infection is caused when bacteria get inside the incision (cut) from a c-section. A c-section is surgery in which your baby is born through a cut that your health care provider makes in your belly and uterus. Bacteria can cause the cut to get infected.
Signs of infection are fever and painful, red, swollen skin around the incision. Call your health care provider if you have any of these signs. Your provider may drain the incision to release the trapped bacteria.
Most c-section incisions heal without any problems. You’re more likely to get an infection if you:
Deep vein thrombophlebitis (DVT) is a blood clot inside a vein. DVT is rare, but it can be a serious health problem if it’s not treated. Without treatment, the blood clot can travel to your heart and lungs and block blood flow. This can cause chest pain, breathing problems and, in rare cases, even death.
Blood clots also can happen in the veins around your pelvic area. This is more common if you’ve had a cesarean birth (c-section). A c-section is surgery in which your baby is born through a cut that your health care provider makes in your belly and uterus.
Signs of DVT include a high fever and tenderness, pain or swelling in your leg, especially around your calf.
Hormonal changes make all women at risk for DVT after giving birth. Other risks for DVT include:
If you think you may have DVT, call your health care provider immediately. You may need to go to the hospital. Your provider may give you a blood thinner to treat the clot and prevent any new clots.
Endometritis is infection of the endometrium, the lining of the uterus (womb). Bacteria that cause endometritis grow in the uterus lining, at the spot where the placenta breaks away after birth. The placenta grows in your uterus and supplies your baby with food and oxygen through the umbilical cord.
Endometritis can spread through the uterus. Sometimes it reaches blood vessels in the ovaries and pelvis.
Endometritis usually happens 2 to 3 days after birth. If the infection isn’t treated, it can cause more serious health problems, like infertility.
Signs of endometritis include:
Call your health care provider if you have any of these signs.
If your health provider finds that you have endometritis, antibiotics (medicines that kill infection caused by bacteria) can help clear up most cases.
Mastitis is a breast infection that’s caused by bacteria. Bacteria usually get into the breast during breastfeeding.
Bacteria from your skin and your baby’s mouth can get into the breast through a crack in the skin of your nipple. Bacteria also can enter your breast through the opening to milk ducts in your nipple.
Signs of mastitis include:
Mastitis can be painful, but it usually doesn’t lead to serious health problems. Your provider may give you antibiotics (medicines that kill infection caused by bacteria) or acetaminophen (like Tylenol) to reduce your fever and help you feel better.
Even though it may hurt, it’s best to keep breastfeeding or breast pumping if you have mastitis. This helps empty your breasts and takes away some of the painful pressure. You can’t pass the infection to your baby through breast milk, so it’s safe to keep breastfeeding.
Postpartum bleeding is bleeding from the vagina after giving birth. It’s normal. However, heavy bleeding (hemorrhaging) can be a sign of other health problems. The most common causes of serious, heavy bleeding after birth are:
If you have serious bleeding after birth, it most likely happens when you’re still in the hospital. Your health care provider may massage your uterus or give you fluids through an IV needle into your vein. This can help stop the bleeding. She also may give you oxytocin (a hormone that can help your uterus contract). In very rare cases, a woman may need surgery or a blood transfusion.
Your period may start again 6 to 8 weeks after giving birth if you're not breastfeeding. If you are breastfeeding, your period may not start again for months. Some women don't have a period again until they stop breastfeeding.