Even for the most body-secure among us, gaining anywhere from 20 to 40 pounds during pregnancy is no picnic. Sure, we have days where we are full of energy and glowing and ready to flaunt our adorable baby bumps. But we also have days, especially in the third trimester, where we feel less like mama-goddesses and more like sweaty, frumpy, nothing-fits-anymore messes.
To take the edge off, I turned to the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) report on pregnancy weight gain, which provides the evidence base for their widely-referenced weight gain guidelines:
- Underweight: Gain 28-40 pounds
- Normal weight: Gain 25-35 pounds
- Overweight: Gain 15-25 pounds
- Obese: Gain 11-20 pounds
Some of what I learned from their report was outright reassuring, like that a sudden bump up in weight in the second trimester is common and does not imply that you will continue to gain weight at a fast clip. Other facts, like that 15-30 percent of the fat gained during pregnancy goes straight to our thighs, were less reassuring. Continue reading Five little known facts about pregnancy weight gain
Breastfeeding melts off the baby weight, right? Breastfeeding leads to an “earlier return to prepregnancy weight,” according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
This is because “breastfeeding burns extra calories, so it can help you lose pregnancy weight faster,” as many popular websites, like WebMd claim.
Sounds pretty clear cut, right?
So when I failed to lose weight while breastfeeding my first child, I was shocked. Weren’t those pregnancy pounds supposed to be falling off? Why were my pre-pregnancy jeans still collecting dust in the back of my closet?
Breastfeeding an infant does burn an average of 480 calories a day. So why wasn’t I losing more weight?
But like so many other alleged benefits of breastfeeding, breastfeeding-aided weight loss turns out to be vastly overblown.
In other words, my experience was completely normal. For most well-nourished women, long-term breastfeeding results in only a trivial amount of extra weight loss by 6 months postpartum, usually only of 1-2 lbs.
Continue reading Don’t Count on Breastfeeding to Help You Shed Your Baby Weight