Even mothers that have followed the recommended guidelines of eating an additional 200 calories per day during the second and third trimesters of their pregnancy from nutritional sources, and avoided highly processed and junk foods, can feel anxious about the additional fat that is stored by the body to support pregnancy. Many new mothers decide that their own health is more important once another persons life depends on it. A mother is the most important thing in her babies life and throughout its upbringing, so it is advisable she is as fit and healthy as her capabilities allow.
I advise all of my clients that have a goal of reduced body fat, that it must be a gradual reduction. This is particularly important for vulnerable individuals, post-natal mothers included. Mothers that breast feed burn additional calories to support the production of their milk. Usually a new mother can expect to lose 6.8kg (15lb) within the first week after birth. Some mothers retain 2.3-4.5kg (5-10lb) for each of their pregnancies and do not manage to change their nutrition and lifestyle to lose any unneeded body fat after each pregnancy. This is contributing to more and more women nowadays carrying unhealthy levels of body fat and increasing their vulnerability to sickness and disease.
Women who eat a nutritionally balanced diet will typically lose 450-900g (1-2lb) in weight, per month during the first 4 to 6 months of breast feeding. Mothers that bottle feed their babies from the beginning, will lose weight more slowly as they are not needing the additional calories to support this. It is worth noting that a weight loss of more than 700g (1.5lb) per week can reduce the volume of breast milk the mother is producing, thus risking the nutritional health of the mother and baby.
A new mother is therefore advised, not to cut back on calories drastically but ensure that what she does eat is of a good standard of nutritional value and not highly processed. She should also ensure she is drinking 2 litres of water per day, and some mothers such as those breast feeding and/or exercising may need more.
If you are unsure of the nutritional value of your foods it is essential you find out and check. Some nutrients we need in larger quantities than others and some pose a risk to our health if we have them in too larger quantity. Contact me for further information on any of the topics discussed in this article.