There is no set number indicating a healthy BMI or body mass index for a new mother. Contrary to what some women think, or hope, the baby weight doesn’t magically fall off as soon as the baby is born.
The length of time it will take to get back to a pre-pregnancy weight depends on how much the woman gained during her pregnancy and the lifestyle choices she makes after delivery. BMI is merely one indication of a healthy person.
As you strive to regain your shape after childbirth you should consider this number a tool in tracking your progress, but not the end all and be all of your good health. Be sure to use our free BMI calculator and free BMR calculator today!
Weight Gain and BMI During Pregnancy
It’s normal to put on weight during pregnancy, and a woman who is expecting should discuss it with her doctor. Not only is the total weight gain during the process important, but the woman and her doctor should be monitoring how much weight she is putting on at each stage of the pregnancy. A sudden in crease in weight gain or not gaining enough weight may be signs of health issues that need to be addressed.
Obviously, your body mass index will increase significantly during pregnancy. In most cases, it should. Your goal should merely be to return it to the healthy BMI range. This should not be expected to occur overnight.
Weight Gain and BMI During Pregnancy
The desired weight gain during pregnancy depends on the woman’s BMI before she conceived. If the “normal” weight gain during pregnancy is set at somewhere between 25-35 lbs, keep in mind that this figure is based on a woman having a BMI of between 18.5-24.9. This is considered the normal range and is a healthy weight for a woman who is not expecting.
A woman who starts her pregnancy being underweight, with a BMI of less than 18.5, may be told that she can safely put on more weight. The goal is to make sure that the developing baby gets enough nourishment from the mother so that he or she can develop to a healthy weight before birth. Low birth weight babies are more likely to have health issues, and if the mother is able to gain between 28-40 lbs., she and her baby will benefit.
When a woman starts off her pregnancy being overweight or obese, her doctor will probably suggest that she limit her weight gain during pregnancy. In the case of a patient with a BMI of 25-30, a weight gain of 15-25 lbs. would likely be recommended. For a woman who is at a higher than normal weight with a BMI of 30 or above, the recommended weight gain throughout the pregnancy is 15 lbs. Your body is different from that of other women. Look at your situation from a healthy perspective.
Losing Weight after Baby Arrives
A new mother has many demands on her time after her baby arrives, and lack of sleep when caring for a newborn makes it more challenging for you to take care of your own health. It’s not unusual for a woman who has given birth within the past 12 months to retain a few pounds of the baby weight that she has trouble shedding. Give yourself a little time.
For the majority of women, the weight gain is four to five pounds of stubborn baby weight. Approximately one in five new mothers weigh between eight to eleven pounds more 12 months or more after the birth of their child. Don’t despair. By charting your BMI over time and taking the following actions you can return to a healthy BMI.
How to Attain a Healthy Post-Baby BMI
There are some things that a new mother can do to help get her weight to a healthy post-baby BMI level. One of the best things that you can do is to breast feed for as long as possible. It takes a considerable amount of energy to produce milk, which helps to shed the weight gained during pregnancy more easily. The act of nursing also causes your uterus to contract, which means it will shrink to a pre-pregnancy size more quickly. (If you are unable to nurse for any reason, don’t fall into a guilt trap. While this is the ideal, you can still raise a happy and healthy child, and lose that post-pregnancy weight, if you don’t.)
If you can nurse you need to eat well in order to support your body in producing milk. Following a healthy diet that includes whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean meats and low-fat dairy products will not only make it easier for a new mother to keep up with the demands of caring for a child, but help you get down to (or close to) your pre-pregnancy weight. Of course, non-nursing moms will also drop pounds and attain a healthy BMI more rapidly by following healthy eating advice.
Getting regular exercise will also help you, as a new mom, to manage your weight, and the demands of motherhood. If you can find a post-natal exercise class, it will not only help you to stay fit but it also has the benefit of introducing you to other women who are in similar circumstances.
Calculating a healthy BMI for a new mother is something that should probably wait until some time has passed after you have given birth. The more weight that you gain during pregnancy, the longer it will take for you to lose after the baby arrives. If you are ready to make some steps then knowing your current BMI is a good place to start. To find out what a healthy weight range is after losing the baby weight, click on the free BMI calculator right now!