As you’re probably very aware, the closer you get to giving birth, your body is priming itself for this challenge. No matter if you were physically fit before this. Or not.
Your body has this.
And that’s why it’s such a miracle.
What you go through is extensive and exhaustive. That’s why many mamas wonder how many calories are burned during labor.
Unfortunately, that may be tough to pinpoint. I’ll explain…
Does giving birth burn calories?
Yes, giving birth burns calories. It burns LOTS of calories. But to say with certainty how many is impossible, for every woman has a different labor and delivery experience.
Take me, for example. I went in to have my eldest. I had hoped to have a vaginal delivery. I suffered for nearly 24 hours in labor trying to deal with it.
I was exhausted. I felt like I’d done the most intensive workout of my life.
And I still wasn’t even at the finish line.
By the time I was dilated enough to try pushing, she’d turned around inside of me. I had no more energy to go on. Things were getting worse, and they had to wheel me into the OR for an emergency c-section. Read my whole labor story here.
But for my youngest, I planned the c-section. Despite this plan, I went into labor before my scheduled surgery date. I was not in the land of labor all that long though before I was prepped for surgery and taken down to the OR.
While I don’t have an exact calorie count, I can tell you that I most certainly burned more calories having my eldest.
I was in labor longer and had contractions longer.
If you have a c-section, you’re less likely to burn calories giving birth unless you go through some of that labor before your surgery.
Don’t feel bad if you don’t…we have to do what is best for our babies. Sometimes, there is no time. You must go in for surgery and get that baby out safely.
Vaginal childbirth will always burn more calories, but if you struggle with labor before the c-section, you are burning calories too.
I want to add that you will burn fewer calories if you have medication.
But still, going through labor is always likened to a marathon for endurance and duration. Calorie-burn from running a marathon would perhaps be somewhat similar.
Do uterine contractions burn calories?
Well, yeah. Every time you have one, you can just feel the burn. And think about how your body is getting itself back in shape. Or simply trying to get that kid out. That’s basically all I could think of while I was in labor.
The good news is that
The calories you burn during labor and your recovery period are burning off that extra fat reserve your body stored up for a healthy pregnancy.
How many calories are burned during active labor?
Well, you can venture a guesstimate if you dare. Look on a calorie chart for known activities, which are estimates anyway. You’d want to choose something with similar exertion, like running or weightlifting.
But wait! You also have to consider your own weight at the time and the intensity you put forth. Then you need to multiply that hourly expenditure of calories by the amount of time in labor.
Even then, you’re still never really going to know how many calories you burn. Every woman is different. As my example proves above, you can have very different birthing experiences.
They’ve tried to study these things, but it’s so subjective. So please, take what I’m about to tell you with a nice grain of salt.
A report by Wren Kitchens announced that parenting could cause you to burn as many as 50,000 calories in a month. Apparently, carrying a small child around is the same as doing well over 200 burpees.
So if you hate burpees, perhaps carry those kiddos around more.
Joking aside, childbirth and parenting, in general, seems to really keep you burning calories. That and being interrupted every single time you try to eat something.
If you’re worried about losing that weight after baby, try not to worry about that now. That delivery will certainly kick off the weight loss. And taking care of your little one will most certainly keep you moving.
Leslie Berry lives with her husband and two young daughters in Los Altos, California where she loves helping other moms get comfortable with motherhood and embracing the insanity with facts peppered with laughs. She loves eating too much sushi, exercise, and jamming out on her Fender.