In the first few days after you give birth, you’ll lose some weight quickly. The extra water you carried during late pregnancy gets removed in your wee and sweat (Steen and Wray 2014). Your blood levels return to normal, and your womb gets smaller.
After this, weight loss tends to slow down. That’s fine, because you’re more likely to keep the weight off if you lose it slowly. Your weight will continue to drop gradually as long as you eat healthily and keep active (NHS 2016a).
Don’t be disappointed if your body doesn’t snap back to its pre-pregnancy shape soon after you’ve had your baby. Your body has been through the major process of pregnancy and labour, and will need time to recover.
The extra fat your body stored in pregnancy is used as energy to help with breastfeeding. Although breastfeeding can help you to lose weight, especially if you breastfeed for six months or more, much of your weight loss also depends on your diet and how active you are every day.
It’s normal for your tummy to be a bit flabby and wrinkly after birth. But there are things you can do to help.
Start gently by exercising your pelvic floor and tummy muscles as soon as you feel up to it. Beginning these exercises early will help you to get back into shape and protect you against back pain (PHA 2016).
It took you nine months of pregnancy to get to where you are, so your body will need about the same amount of time to recover.
Healthy eating and regular exercise, such as walking, or joining an exercise class for new mums, will help you to shed the weight (Amorim Adegboye et al 2013).