How Safe is it for New Mums to Lose Weight Quickly?
There’s a huge amount of pressure on women to shed baby weight quickly, but it’s something you have to be extremely careful about.
30 December 2019
All Credits: PA
It seems that whenever a celebrity has a baby...
They’re back in a bodycon dress within a few months or on the beach with zero stretch marks insight, looking like they couldn’t possibly have given birth recently.
It’s enough to make the rest of us feel like failures, but it’s important to remember A-listers’ post-baby bodies are not the norm.
Even so, each celeb we see bouncing back with an unattainable body type does play into the damaging narrative that women needing to slim down immediately after giving birth.
But how safe it is really? We asked Medicspot GP, Dr. Farah Gilani.
Gwyneth Paltrow worked out for two hours a day with celeb trainer Tracy Anderson after her second baby, according to the Huffington Post
“The pressures to look good after birth can be immense,” Gilani concedes – and you can only imagine how much more intense it is for someone in the public eye. However, she warns against going on a crash diet to lose the baby weight quickly, saying: “It is important to bear in mind that the body needs time to heal after birth.”
After the physical trials of pregnancy and birth, the pelvic floor, back, and abdominal muscles need to recover, and the doctor says: “Separated muscles in the abdomen will take several weeks – if not months – to knit back together.”
This, coupled with the fact that having a newborn can be so physically and emotionally tiring, means Gilani says “it’s important that a new mother is able to focus on allowing her body to heal”.
She says the best way for mums to recover properly is through a nutritious diet. “The right balance of vitamins, minerals, proteins, and healthy fats will speed recovery,” she explains. “Limiting calories or following restrictive diets can lead to deficiencies in these.”
Miranda Kerr modelled on the runway at Paris Fashion Week just two months after giving birth to her first son
It can be particularly damaging to cut down on what you eat if you’re breastfeeding because you actually need extra calories to be able to feed your baby. “Exclusively breastfeeding mothers need an extra 300 to 500 calories per day to feed their baby,” Gilani says. “Dieting can affect milk supply and interfere with the breastfeeding journey.”
Other than restricting calories, another way to shed the baby weight is through exercise, but this is also something you need to be extremely careful about.
“Hormone levels in the postpartum period lead to laxity of ligaments in the body, meaning that it can be easy to overstretch and cause injury if pushing too hard,” Gilani says. “A gentle postnatal programme, designed to take into account the body’s healing journey, can be the best way to ease back into it, rather than commencing vigorous exercise immediately. This allows the big muscle groups to heal and knit back together in the correct way.”
Gilani is all for aiming to achieve a healthy body mass index, but she is a proponent of doing it safely – something which is tricky when your body is still recovering from birth. She says: “It is normal for the weight gained over pregnancy to take up to a year to lose.”
Chrissy Teigen has, as ever, been real about losing weight post-baby
Thankfully some celebs have spoken out about the realities of losing weight in the public eye.
Chrissy Teigen said: “Anyone in the public eye, we have all the help we could ever need to be able to shed everything. So I think people get this jaded sensation that everybody’s losing it so quickly, but we just happen to be the ones who are out there.
“We have nutritionists, we have dietitians, we have trainers, we have our own schedules, we have nannies. We have people who make it possible for us to get back into shape, but nobody should feel like that’s normal, or like that’s realistic.”
It’s not a surprise that celebs get so much help but it is refreshing to hear one admit it.