Losing weight after giving birth can be a challenging task for many women, experts say.Jessica Simpson, 32, the new celebrity spokeswoman for Weight Watchers, has made national headlines by publicly talking about her struggles to lose weight after giving birth to her first child, 9- pound, 13-ounce daughter Maxwell Drew, on May 1, according to USA Today. "Gaining weight is an essential part of pregnancy, but once the baby arrives, most new moms cannot wait to lose the weight," said Dr. Rob Kominiarek, who is self-employed and works with patients of Kettering Health Network's Grandview Medical Center. "And it is important for new mothers to lose weight, as being overweight is linked to numerous diseases that are ravaging our nation -- diseases like diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, heart attacks and strokes." Kominiarek, also called "America's Fitness Doctor", is the host of AmericasFitness Doctor.TV, a series of online webisodes on weight loss, and is an Amazon bestselling author of "The Bride's Guide to Quick Weight Loss" and "16 Minutes A Day, An Energizing Fat Loss Plan." We asked Kominiarek what women should know about healthy weight gain during pregnancy and healthy weight loss after the baby arrives. Q: Why is gaining the proper amount of weight essential during pregnancy? A: It takes lots of calories and proper nutrition to support the growth and development of a new life, so it is very important you eat healthful, nutritious food. But you also need to be careful not to gain too much or too little weight.
Q: How much weight is healthy for women to gain while pregnant? A: About 25 to 30 pounds. Up to 45 for twin gestations (pregnancies).
Q: What steps can women take during pregnancy to avoid gaining too much weight? A: It is important to take care of yourself, eat a healthful diet, get regular exercise, take your prenatal vitamins and get plenty of quality sleep.
Q: What are the negative health effects of gaining too much weight during pregnancy? A: First, it makes getting the weight off that much more difficult. And studies show women who gain too much weight during pregnancy tend to retain the extra weight if they do not get rid of it in the first year. Obesity is a lifestyle disease. ... Being obese also leads to rapid aging and emotional disorders.
Q: Does gaining too much weight during pregnancy affect the baby's weight and health? A: New findings that were presented at The Endocrine Society's 93rd annual meeting showed that women who put on too much weight during their pregnancy are more likely to give birth to babies with excessive body fat, which may set the stage for them being overweight or obese as an adult.
Q: Is there a certain amount of time women should wait after giving birth before beginning a weight-loss diet or exercise plan? A: When it comes to exercise, think slow and gradual to work yourself back to your pre- pregnancy fitness level. Exercise is a huge component of safe and healthy weight loss, and most moms can go back to exercising within weeks of a normal vaginal delivery. C-section (cesarean section) deliveries require additional rest and wound healing before regular physical activity. Check with your doctor before starting any exercise program.
Q: Is losing baby weight right away healthy? A: Yes, if you follow a detailed nutrition and exercise plan. Where most women go wrong is they do not eat enough nutritious foods to support the demands of regular exercise. Nutrition is 80 percent of the game when it comes to weight loss.
Q: Is it healthy for women to go on exercise and diet plans to lose weight while they breastfeed? A: "Yes and no. Breastfeeding moms should not go on weight loss diets because they need plenty of calories to lactate and provide the sole source of nutrition to their infants. Even if the weight doesn't come off as fast as if you were not breastfeeding, it [is] the best thing for you and the baby. Breast milk is designed by Mother Nature to give your baby everything he or she needs for growth and development for the first several months. ... Your diet affects the quality of the breast milk, whereas the quantity is based on how much you nurse. However, you can exercise and eat plenty of healthy, nutritious food every day."
Q: Can breastfeeding help women lose weight? A: "Yes and no. Breastfeeding should not be used as a weight loss method because you could actually gain weight while nursing if you don't pay close attention to your nutrition. It is a myth that breastfeeding uses up lots of calories making milk. You will burn some stored body fat, but your body protects some fat for the purpose of breastfeeding. Many women don't lose all the baby weight until they completely stop nursing, while others lose the baby weight easily.
Q: How long should it take for women to lose weight after giving birth? A: This is variable for every woman. Immediately postpartum, focus on healthy eating for the first six weeks. Stay away from processed foods, junk foods, soda, candy, chips, alcohol and other unhealthy foods. Continue to take your vitamins, drink plenty of water, get restful sleep as much as possible and advance your exercise slowly as you are able to tolerate (it).
Q: Why can losing baby weight after pregnancy be such a challenge for women? A: For the first six weeks postpartum, a woman's body can be in a hormonal and emotional storm. There are so many individual factors ... (and) each and every woman faces many of their own challenges during this time. For many women, the stress of losing weight can be overwhelming."
Q: Is there a link between the amount of sleep women get and losing their baby weight? A: Rest and sleep is an integral part of losing the weight after you have a baby. ... Sleep allows your body to repair itself on a cellular level, strengthen your immune system, allow your heart to rest and reduce stress, improve your memory, and help you control your body weight. .
Q: What else should women know about losing their baby weight? A: This can be a difficult time, as there are many changes occurring all at once -- changes with your body, changes with work, changes with home life, changes in the relationship you have with your spouse (and) changes in your life role. So be patient. Enjoy the new life you have brought into this world, and the rest will come in time.
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