Thursday, January 12, 2012

How to Slim Down Your Belly After Pregnancy?

Most women gain between 25 and 35 lbs. during pregnancy, although you may gain more or less depending on your activity level and pre-pregnancy weight. For example, women who were underweight before their pregnancy may need to gain more weight. You lose a good portion of pregnancy weight just by having your baby. In a 30-lb. weight gain, for instance, the baby weighs usually about 7.5 lb., the placenta weighs 1.5 lb., and amniotic fluid accounts for about 2 lb., which means that you really only need to lose less than 20 lbs. after your baby's birth. Always discuss postnatal weight-loss strategies with your doctor, particularly if you had complications during your birth or a cesarean delivery.
Step 1
Monitor your calorie intake and decrease how many calories you consume if necessary. If you breastfeed, keep in mind that you need extra calories to help your body produce milk and maintain energy levels. According to the American Pregnancy Association, you should increase your calorie intake by 500 calories each day while breastfeeding. Avoid rapid decreases in calorie intake, which can affect milk supply -- focus on eating healthy, low-calorie foods that provide nutrients and aid in weight loss.
Step 2
Exercise for at least 30 minutes five days per week. Aerobic exercise has the most significant effect on weight loss, since it burns the most calories. If you did not exercise before or during pregnancy, be sure to start slowly. Walking is a gentle exercise you can do with your baby. More strenuous exercises, like jogging, will burn more calories in a shorter amount of time. Be sure to consult your doctor before beginning exercise after your pregnancy. As noted by, doctors used to recommend that women wait six weeks after pregnancy to start exercising, but recent studies show that starting to exercise earlier is safe and beneficial if you had an uncomplicated birth and exercised during your pregnancy.
Step 3
Tone your muscles with strengthening exercises. Strengthening exercises will help tone and strengthen the muscles in areas you target. The stomach is a natural spot for pregnancy flab to accumulate. Combine regular aerobic exercise with ab exercises, like crunches, at least three days a week to help tone and shape your abs. Begin with abdominal pulses, which place minimal stress on the abdominal muscles. To perform abdominal pulses, sit with your legs crossed and back supported. Inhale and fill your belly with air, keeping the ab muscles relaxed. As you exhale, suck in the abdominal muscles tightly. Do two sets of 10 to 50 reps. You can also do abdominal pulses while seated in a chair.
Step 4
Stay hydrated. Not only does water keep you full and prevent overeating, but it also prevents dehydration and helps your body maintain proper fluid balance.
Step 5
Avoid fad diets that emphasize one food group over others. Although weight loss is important, staying healthy is also crucial in the postpartum period, particularly if you breastfeed. Postpartum women who are not breastfeeding should aim to eat six servings of whole grains, two servings of low-fat dairy, two servings of meat, poultry, lean meat or eggs, one serving of nuts and legumes, at least four servings of vegetables, two servings of fruit, and two servings of plant oils each day. Nursing mothers have the same requirements for fish, poultry, lean meat and eggs and vegetables, but they need nine servings of whole grains, three servings of low-fat dairy, two servings of nuts and legumes, and three servings of fruit.
Step 6
Exercise with your baby to allow more time for physical activity and for bonding. Postnatal yoga is one exercise method you can do with your baby, and it also provides a bit of relaxation to make your days less stressful. "Yoga Journal" provides a helpful list of postnatal yoga exercises to help with common postpartum issues, like weakened pelvic floor muscles, fatigue and abdominal weakness. Other great postnatal exercises to do with your baby include walking with the stroller three or four times a day -- it'll get you and your baby into some fresh air.

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