Excessive Weight Loss After Pregnancy

by Piper Li
Excessive weight loss can be unhealthy during the postpartum period.

Excessive weight loss can be unhealthy during the postpartum period.

While many women may struggle to lose weight and regain their pre-pregnancy shape, other new mothers may shed pounds quickly. The rate at which you lose your pregnancy weight can affect your health and the health of your breastfeeding baby. Very rapid weight loss may signal the presence of postpartum depression, or baby blues. Notify your doctor if you experience any unusual postpartum symptoms such as excessive weight loss, loss of appetite or frequent crying spells.

Pregnancy

The amount of weight women gain during pregnancy varies greatly. MayoClinic.com recommends that underweight women gain between 28 and 40 pounds during pregnancy while advising obese women to limit their pregnancy weight gain to an amount between 11 and 20 pounds. Part of this weight gain is lost rapidly during delivery, while the rest may remain as body fat.

Weight Loss

The most rapid weight loss occurs during delivery. You may lose about 10 pounds during the birth of your baby. Quick weight loss continues during the first week after delivery as your body quickly releases leftover fluids from your tissues. Beyond the first week, however, your rate of weight loss should become gradual and steady. Healthy weight loss normally occurs at a rate of about 1 to 2 pounds each week after the initial postpartum period. Certain factors can determine how quickly you lose weight after your pregnancy.

Factors

Women giving birth to multiples, such as twins or triplets, may notice a more rapid reduction in body weight. Activity level, daily caloric intake, whether you are breastfeeding and your pre-pregnancy weight all influence the rate at which you'll lose your pregnancy poundage. Excessive weight loss can be a symptom of various disorders including gastrointestinal diseases, cancer, cardiovascular disease, infection and kidney disease.

Risks

Magazine covers are plastered with triumphant tales of celebrity moms slimming down at a supernatural rate, setting unrealistic and unhealthy goals for new mothers.

Breastfeeding mothers typically lose weight faster than mothers who aren't lactating, but MayoClinic.com advises that about one pound per week is a reasonable weight loss following the birth of a baby. Avoid unhealthy social pressures that promote rapid weight loss. Set reasonable weight-loss goals, allowing yourself six months or more to lose your pregnancy weight, depending on the amount you gained.

Losing weight too quickly can lead to nutritional deficiencies and diminished energy. Burning off weight too quickly may cause your fat cells to release contaminants into your breast milk, according to Ask Dr. Sears, a website devoted to parenting and pediatrics,

Nutrition

Ask Dr. Sears advises that most new mothers can consume about 2,000 calories each day and still experience a gradual weight loss. While the exact amount of calories you require depends on a variety of factors such as your height and activity level, most breastfeeding women require about 500 extra calories for lactation. Eating a nutritious variety of foods can help you lose weight safely and gradually. Consume a balanced diet that contains fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, nuts and dairy products. Drink plenty of fluids to guard against dehydration, especially while breastfeeding.

About the Author

Piper Li, a professional freelance writer, began writing in 1989. Her articles appear online at Biz Mojo, Walden University and various other websites. She is the co-editor for "Kansas Women: Focus on Health." With a bachelor's degree in journalism from Mesa State, Li enjoys writing about health, horticulture and business management.

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