Columbus Public Health: Plan For A Healthy Weight After Baby


Plan for a Healthy Weight After Baby

Advice from Columbus Public Health

After having a baby, many women make a plan to get rid of extra weight they may have gained during pregnancy. After giving birth, you will lose about 10 pounds right away and a little more as body fluid levels decrease. The safest way to lose any additional weight is slowly over several months.
•    Breastfeeding your baby can help you return to a healthy weight by increasing — you will need an extra 500 calories each day.
•    Studies have shown that breastfeeding mothers return to their pre-pregnancy weight sooner than their formula feeding counterparts. Research also suggests that breastfed infants have a lower risk of becoming overweight later in life.
•    Breastfeeding mothers can safely lose a moderate amount of weight without affecting their milk supply or their babies’ growth.
•    American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life with continued breastfeeding along with complementary foods after this time.
•    More on breastfeeding benefits at Office of Women’s Health (link to  

Fill Your Plate
•    Fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables
•    Fill a quarter of your plate with lean protein such as chicken, fish or tofu
•    Fill a quarter of your plate with whole grains. Check the label to make sure the first ingredient says “whole.”
•    Add a serving of dairy such as skim milk, low fat/nonfat cheese, or low fat/nonfat yogurt to meals.
•    Drink water first for thirst instead of soda, sports drinks, or juice
•    More at MyPyramid Plan for moms at

Be active everyday
•    Aim for 30 minutes of physical activity each day.
•    Walking, yoga, swimming and stationary biking are great ways to be active.
•    Try splitting up 30 minutes into three 10 minute sessions throughout the day.
•    More at .

If you are not losing weight or losing weight too slowly, cut back on foods with added sugars and fats, like soft drinks, desserts, fried foods, and fatty meats. Talk to your doctor before you start any type of diet or exercise plan.

More about Losing Weight After Pregnancy

American Congress on Obstetricians and Gynecologists

(link to:

Sources: Institute of Medicine Weight Gain During Pregnancy 2009 Guidelines, 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, CDC: ; La Leche League International: ; The American Academy of Pediatrics: ; Harder, T. et al. Duration of Breastfeeding and Risk of Overweight: A Meta-Analysis. American Journal of Epidemiology 2005 162:397-403