Q&A with Susan Zogheib: How to lose baby weight the healthy way

Featured Expert

Susan Zogheib
Bundoo Prenatal Nutritionist

Susan Zogheib is a Registered Dietician (RD) and also holds a Master’s degree from Ryerson University.

With a 3 month, 2 week old, you might finally feel ready to try committing to a light workout regimen. Celebrities make losing baby weight seem so easy! But for them and us alike, it tends to be much harder than it looks. Losing the baby weight is a big concern for new moms who wish to get back to their pre-baby bodies. Luckily, Susan Zogheib, a Bundoo Prenatal Nutritionist, discusses how moms can get back to a healthy weight after giving birth.

Bundoo: In general, what is reasonable for a new mom to expect when it comes to losing the “baby weight” without doing anything extreme in terms of diet or exercise?

Susan Zogheib: Every woman’s dream is to lose all the extra pregnancy pounds the moment the baby finally arrives. One thing you have to remember is that no one, not even a celebrity, can snap back to her pre-baby body that quickly. It’s very important to be realistic with your expectations. Do expect to lose between 5-10 pounds following delivery, depending on the size of your newborn, plus the weight of your amniotic fluid and placenta. Overall, you could lose up to 12 pounds. It could take several weeks — up to six — to get clearance from your physician to begin exercising. It could take six months to one year to lose the “baby weight.”

If you had to name any single thing new moms could do to stay healthy and get back to their pre-baby selves, what would it be?

Get moving. I think exercise is very important. You have to think slow and gradual to work yourself back to your pre-pregnancy fitness level. Physical activity is a huge component of safe and healthy weight loss. If you exercised throughout your pregnancy and had a normal vaginal delivery, you can safely do light exercises, such as walking or stretching, within days of giving birth.

If you have to name the one thing you wish new moms wouldn’t do, what would that be?

I wish new moms wouldn’t stress so much about the weight gain. Don’t worry about having gained a lot of weight. After all, you’ve gained it for the most wonderful reason — to nourish your new baby! And fortunately, there are many things you can do to lose the weight.

We often hear that breastfeeding can help weight loss. Is this true for everybody?

I can name many benefits of breastfeeding. Breastfeeding has antibodies that help your baby fight infections — that alone is a great reason to breastfeed. Breastfeeding can also help with weight loss; you can burn up to 500 calories per hour breastfeeding.

When it comes to being active, how is exercise different for a mom who had a baby recently, versus the “before pregnancy” exercise routine?

Pre-baby, you didn’t really have any restrictions when it came to exercise. Exercise is very different for a new mom, versus pre-baby. I think you have to gradually resume exercising as soon as you feel up to it. But your doctor or midwife may want you to wait until your six-week postpartum checkup to see how you’re doing first.

Start slowly with a low-impact aerobic activity, like walking. As you regain strength, you can increase the length and number of walks. If you had a C-section, you’ll need to check with your physician first. They will want to make sure you fully recover from your operation prior to beginning an exercise program. An incision from a C-section takes several weeks to heal, and it may be a while after that before you feel like working out.

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