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Postpartum Weight Gain: Why It Happens

Postpartum weight gain
Planning A Baby

Postpartum Weight Gain: Why It Happens

Postpartum weight gain can be one of the more challenging elements of motherhood. Navigating through body changes post-pregnancy can feel intimidating; pregnancy and childbirth bring great physical and emotional changes to them.

In this guide, we’ll look into factors contributing to postpartum weight gain and its psychological impacts and provide practical tips and support so you can handle this phase with pride and grace. Let’s embark together!

What is Postpartum Weight Gain

Postpartum weight gain is a term that refers to the increase in body weight after childbirth. It is normal to put on some weight during pregnancy, and this is important for the well-being of the mother as well as the baby, but postpartum weight gain can go beyond those who have just given birth.

The reasons for this weight gain include fluctuations in hormones, changes in lifestyle and diet, decreased physical activity, and looking after a newborn.

After delivery, many women experience postpartum weight gain. It has both physical and emotional obstacles, though. Knowing why there is an increase in postpartum weight gain will help to handle it properly while enhancing healthiness throughout the period.

Therefore, let us look at these issues more comprehensively so that we can know how to manage postnatal fats with confidence.

Is postpartum weight gain normal?

After having a baby, it is common for women to gain weight. Hormonal changes, lack of exercise, and increased food intake are some causes of this. Instead of losing weight quickly, concentrate on adopting healthy habits.

Therefore, talk to your doctor at this stage, who will provide you with professional advice and guidance and help you accept this phase in your life.

When does postpartum weight gain start

Postpartum weight gain usually commences immediately after childbirth for reasons such as fluid retention and hormonal shifts. It can persist as changes in lifestyle, like a lack of movement and an increase in calorie intake, become effective.

By tracking the changes and seeking healthcare providers’s advice, this condition of weight gain can be managed well.

What causes postpartum weight gain?

The postpartum weight increase is due to many reasons. The hormonal alterations lead to increased hunger and fat deposition, while low physical movement because of healing and looking after children does the same. Furthermore, stress and emotional eating can also affect this.

To control the increase in weight after childbirth effectively, women need to comprehend these factors as well as adopt healthy habits.

Postpartum weight gain

Factors Contributing to Postpartum Weight Gain

Hormonal changes

Hormonal changes are complex biochemical fluctuations within our bodies that regulate various bodily processes and functions, from puberty through pregnancy and menopause.

Hormone fluctuations become especially noticeable during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause when hormone levels fluctuate significantly to support growth and development in pregnant mothers; similarly, during menopause, estrogen levels decline with associated symptoms, including moodiness.

Hormone fluctuations also impact metabolism and reproductive systems, affecting mood management as well as reproduction functions, affecting mood metabolism and reproduction negatively.

Understanding these shifts can assist with managing associated symptoms while improving overall well-being, and consulting healthcare providers is key to successfully managing these transitions.

Lack of sleep

  1. When you don’t get enough sleep, your thinking can get a bit fuzzy. Your memory and focus might not work as well.
  2. Did you know it can also mess with your body’s defenses? You might catch colds or other bugs more easily.
  3. And guess what? You could start gaining weight. Your hormones could get out of whack and mess with your metabolism.
  4. You might become grumpy because of tiredness.
  5. Risks go up, too. You could get hurt more easily because you’re not as aggressive.
  6. Long-term problems can happen in your heart. Things like high blood pressure can be linked to not sleeping well.
  7. It plays a role in how your body performs and recovers. Poor sleep could slow you down.
  8. Feeling hungrier than usual? Your sleep could be to blame. Lack of rest tweaks the hormones that control hunger.

Stress and emotional eating

Stress triggers emotional eating, where individuals consume food to soothe emotional cues rather than fulfill physical hunger needs. Cortisol levels rise during stressful episodes, increasing cravings for high-calorie comfort food, which temporarily eases distress by stimulating the reward center of our brains, but frequent emotional eating leads to weight gain and other negative health outcomes.

Recognizing emotional triggers, developing healthier coping mechanisms like exercise or relaxation techniques, and seeking support from friends, family, or professionals may break this cycle and contribute to greater emotional well-being and physical well-being overall.

Effects of postpartum weight gain

Physical health impacts

Physical health can be profoundly influenced by multiple factors, including lifestyle choices, genetics, and environmental circumstances.

Routine physical activity, balanced nutrition, and enough sleep are crucial for maintaining optimal physical well-being; on the contrary, unhealthy behaviors like poor diet choices, sedentary behavior, or substance abuse may contribute to obesity, cardiovascular diseases, or mental health disorders, resulting in serious consequences for our overall well-being.

  • Sedentary lifestyles increase the risks of obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases.
  • Poor nutrition contributes to deficiencies, obesity, and digestive health issues.
  • Substance abuse, such as alcohol and tobacco consumption, poses grave dangers to vital organs while increasing the chances of addiction and chronic illnesses.
  • Sleep deprivation affects cognitive functioning by weakening immunity and inhibiting metabolic processes.
  • Chronic stress increases cortisol levels, leading to weight gain, cardiovascular issues, and mental health disorders.
  • Lack of preventive healthcare and regular check-ups delays the detection and treatment of potential health problems, delaying detection and intervention.

Prioritizing regular physical exercise, healthy diet habits, and adequate rest will reduce their risk for chronic illnesses while increasing their overall physical well-being. Furthermore, seeking medical advice or including preventive healthcare measures in daily routines will further help maintain optimal physical health for a better quality of life.

Mental health impacts

Mental well-being plays a pivotal role in overall well-being, covering the emotional, psychological, and social dimensions of our lives. Achieving good mental health helps promote resilience, productivity, and healthy relationships, while poor mental well-being can result in numerous challenges or disorders.

Genetics, trauma experiences, and social pressures all play a part in impacting mental well-being; anxiety disorders, depression, and substance abuse are prevalent mental health problems affecting millions worldwide. Mental health disorders can manifest themselves through mood swings, persistent sadness, and difficulty dealing with everyday stressors.

Untreated mental health conditions can severely limit function, strain relationships, and lower quality of life significantly. Intervention, therapy, and support from healthcare professionals can enable individuals to manage symptoms effectively and lead fulfilling lives.

Promoting mental health awareness, reducing stigmatization, and creating supportive environments are vital to combating mental health impacts and encouraging holistic well-being.

Strategies to Manage Postpartum Weight Gain

How to avoid postpartum weight gain

For postpartum weight gain to be avoided, prioritize balanced nutrition by including plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains in their daily diets.

Stay active through light exercises such as walking or yoga that gradually increase intensity over time; get adequate restful sleep; manage stress effectively; and seek guidance and encouragement from healthcare providers or postpartum support groups as you take care of yourself postpartum.

Postpartum weight gain

Healthy eating habits

  1. Create a Balanced Plate: Incorporate fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats at each meal for optimal nutrition.
  2. Control Your Portions: Be conscious of portion sizes to prevent overeating and preserve healthy body weight.
  3. Eat Regular Meals and Snacks Throughout the Day: Eating regular meals and snacks throughout the day will keep energy levels balanced while helping prevent overindulgence.
  4. Hydration: Staying properly hydrated throughout the day by drinking lots of water will keep your body running at its optimal performance and protect its many processes.
  5. Limit Processed Foods: Reduce your consumption of processed foods that contain added sugars, unhealthy fats, and sodium.
  6. Cook at Home: Prep meals using fresh ingredients at home to maintain greater control over ingredients and cooking methods.
  7. Mindful Eating: Be sure to pay attention to hunger and fullness cues when eating slowly, with each bite being fully enjoyed for maximum mindfulness eating. Doing this may prevent unnecessary overeating!
  8. Fiber: Include fiber-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes into your diet to aid with digestion and increase satiation.
  9. Moderation: Enjoy treats and indulgences within reasonable boundaries to maintain a balanced approach to eating.
  10. Seek Professional Guidance: For customized assistance and support when developing healthy eating habits, seek advice and counsel from an RD or nutritionist.

Regular Exercises

Exercise is integral to maintaining physical and mental wellness. Exercise strengthens muscles, improves cardiovascular health, enhances flexibility and balance, and releases endorphins—relieving stress while lifting mood!

For optimal health benefits, aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity each week, along with muscle-strengthening activities at least twice per month (walking, cycling, swimming, dancing, etc.). To make exercise sustainable as part of life, choose activities you enjoy, such as walking, cycling, swimming, dancing, etc., and gradually increase intensity and duration to realize ultimate health gains.

Seeking support

Seeking assistance when facing life’s obstacles is essential to successfully navigating them. From personal struggles to mental health concerns or difficult decisions, reaching out for support can provide invaluable perspective and assistance from friends, family, or professionals.

Communicating your needs clearly when seeking assistance increases resilience while encouraging problem-solving; reaching out for assistance may come through therapy sessions, support groups, or trusted confidantes; sharing burdens can reduce emotional loads while strengthening connections; don’t be reluctant to reach out when times get rough.

Lean on those you trust as mutual aid helps foster growth, and mutual aid can bring great outcomes that contribute greatly towards personal and societal progress.

Frequently asked questions

  1. Why have I gained so much weight after pregnancy?

    Hormonal Changes

    After childbirth, these hormone levels drop rapidly, which can lead to changes in metabolism and weight gain. The hormone prolactin stimulates milk production.

  2. How long does postpartum weight retention last?

    You should plan to return to your pre-pregnancy weight by 6 to 12 months after delivery. Most women lose half of their baby weight by 6 weeks after childbirth (postpartum). The rest most often comes off over the next several months. A healthy diet with daily exercise will help you shed the pounds.

  3. Does C-section cause weight gain?

    The results demonstrate a causal relationship between C-sections and increased body weight, supporting the involvement of maternal vaginal bacteria in normal metabolic development.11 Oct 2017

  4. How long does the postpartum body last?

    Your postpartum recovery won’t be just a few days. Fully recovering from pregnancy and childbirth can take months. Although many women feel mostly recovered by 6-8 weeks, it may take longer than this to feel like yourself again.

  5. Why am I not losing weight postpartum?

    Is it normal that I’m not losing weight after having a baby? Some postpartum weight retention can be completely normal: Six months after giving birth, women retain an average of 11.8 pounds, meaning that they weigh almost 12 pounds more than they did before they were pregnant.


Seeking support is an integral element of personal growth and well-being. By actively reaching out to trusted individuals or professionals for assistance when facing challenging times, one can more successfully negotiate them, build resilience more easily, foster stronger connections with those they care for more quickly, as well as foster stronger emotional well-being overall.

Do not shy away from asking for assistance, as doing so takes courage; seeking it is just part of living.

Embracing the Postpartum Journey

Embarking on the postpartum journey requires accepting its challenges while celebrating its successes. By seeking support, prioritizing self-care practices, and practicing patience and compassion towards themselves as they navigate this transformative period with ease and joy, they create a nurturing space for both themselves and their newborn baby.

A note from MyShishu

Hey there, If you’re also expecting, it’s prime time to dive into our pregnancy courses! Get ready to soak up all the tips and tricks for a smooth journey ahead. Reach out at info@myshishu.in or give us a buzz at +91 7987882834 to get started!

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