If you’re one of the 30% of women who ended up with a c-section, chances are you’re wondering how to lose your baby weight after a c-section. Losing weight after surgery can be tricky; you must do so safely and effectively.
After my second baby and second c-section, I knew I wanted to lose weight. With my first child, I lost all my weight instantly, but I had put on extra pounds before getting pregnant with my second child. So, I started higher than where I preferred.
So, as soon as my doctor cleared me, I knew it was time to hit the ground running. I wanted to lose 20 pounds, at least, but I ended up losing 30 pounds. Also, I was breastfeeding my baby. For some women, breastfeeding CAN make weight loss a bit harder; that will be an individual issue.
I want to show you what I did to help you lose the weight you want and feel good about your body.
Don’t Exercise Before You Talk to Your Doctor
I know you’re anxious to start losing weight after your c-section, but exercising before your doctor clears you is dangerous. Most doctors don’t recommend that you begin regular exercise until you’re at least eight weeks postpartum.
Why do you need to wait that long?
Also, even if your external incision is closed, it’s easy to forget that you have a wound inside your uterus. When your placenta detached, it left an injury the size of a paper plate. You might notice that you start to bleed more if you exercise too soon after your surgery. You’re bothering that wound.
So, wait until your doctor lets you know that you’re healed well enough before you start to exercise after your surgery.
Consider a Postpartum Girdle
For many women, wearing postpartum underwear or a supportive postpartum girdle is essential for successful exercising. It might seem uncomfortable to wear, but these girdles help keep everything tight about your belly. They provide support for your abdominal and back muscles while you’re exercising.
However, at some point, you need to stop using a girdle. You need time to get those muscles back. I suggest wearing them for the first few weeks after you start exercising. Then, you can reduce how long you wear it until you no longer need it.
Is It Harder to Lose Weight After a C-Section vs. Natural Birth?
In general, the answer is no, but it highly depends on your recovery after your surgery. If you had a harder recovery and needed to wait longer to start exercising, it will naturally take longer to lose weight compared to a mother who had a natural birth.
Don’t let the fact that you had a c-section deter you from trying to lose weight. You can reach your target weight. It takes the same steps to lose weight after vaginal birth as it does if you had surgery.
Breastfeeding Can Help Lose Weight
I’m a serious breastfeeding advocate. I’ve breastfed all four of my kids and still breastfeeding my two-year-old toddler. The World Health Organization and AAP recommend breastfeeding until at least two years old or longer!
Breastfeeding can help with weight loss because you burn calories while nursing your baby! You can burn up to 500 calories daily while breastfeeding, and some evidence shows that breastfeeding mothers lose more weight than formula-feeding mothers.
Note these numbers…
If you’re a breastfeeding mother, you need to take in around 1,800-2,000 calories or more per day. Dropping too much weight too fast will result in losing your milk supply. Chances are you spent too much time getting your milk supply where you want it to be to lose it because of weight loss.
Instead, you need to plan for a slow yet steady weight loss. That will yield the best results without tanking your supply.
How I Loss Weight After My C-Section
Took a Walk Daily
Exercising with kids in the home is tricky. I’m working as a home mother with a husband who has a crazy schedule, so finding time to go to the gym wasn’t practical for me.
I looked at what I did have. I had a stroller and a flat neighborhood area where I could easily walk with my kids. I knew I could take a daily walk, and my kids wouldn’t complain about the time out.
I strived to walk a mile daily, but I tried to walk even more if I had time to walk by myself. I started to add some jogging whenever my husband could stay with my kids, but I don’t feel as if I need to jog.
On average, you burn 100 calories, whether you walk or run one mile. Seriously, the amount of calories you burn is the same, but when you run, it’s just faster to burn that 100 calories. So, don’t stress if running isn’t your idea of a good time. 😀
Started Weekly Yoga
I attended a weekly yoga class when my husband was home. They are only about an hour, which is the longest I leave my babies at this age.
Don’t feel like you NEED to leave your baby to do yoga. There are so many great yoga videos that you can do at home. Many yoga videos are available for streaming.
An hour of yoga can burn as many as 600 calories. It depends on your current weight and what you do while doing yoga, but this shows that you don’t need to do high-intensive workouts to burn calories.
Work on Planks
We all want to reduce our tummy pouch after our c-sections, but certain exercises can do more harm than good. After your surgery, your abdominal muscles are weak; they were cut during your surgery.
Crunching exercises cause your abdominal muscles to contract, which puts more pressure on them. That can cause more damage. When you do planks, it offers constant resistance rather than repeatedly contracting.
Planks will help to stabilize your core muscles. I started with two plank sets at 30 seconds each and added more time and sets as I became stronger.
Consider High-Intensity Interval Training
When your body is stronger and your strength has built up over time, you might consider adding some HIIT workouts. This type of exercise is ideal for burning all the calories needed to eliminate the extra belly fat that might be left over at your delivery.
Another reason you might want to try HIIT workouts is because they don’t take up too much time of your day. In general, these workouts take 20-45 minutes per day. That’s ideal when you have a new baby in your house, and no one knows how long your sweet baby will sleep.
Beyond exercising, eating healthy is the key to losing weight. I didn’t follow a low-carb or low-fat diet. Fats and carbohydrates belong in your diet for different reasons, so excluding either isn’t necessary to lose weight.
Instead, I learned a trick from a diet called Trim Healthy Mama. Now, you can purchase their book to show you how they recommend you lose weight (and it does work because I’ve tried it before). The trick I learned is to balance your fats and carbs. 🙂
What does that mean?
It means that if you want a fatty meal, you must leave the carbs at the door. Fats must be strictly limited if you want a meal full of carbohydrates.
Another trick is that you need to eat every three hours (or sooner if you’re a breastfeeding mother) but stop snacking between meals. Each time you eat, you need a protein source, which could be as simple as yogurt with protein added, a protein bar, or even a cheese stick.
You want to eat fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, eggs, and high-fat dairy products. Avoid foods that have a lot of added sugar and processed foods. Those foods are harder for your body to digest and add unhealthy fats.
Drink More Water
Drink all of the water you want to drink. Not only is water needed to keep your breast milk supply high, but it also can help you lose weight.
Did you know that hydration is one of the most important steps to lose belly fat? Neither did I for a long time, but it revolutionized how I lost weight after I had my baby.
When you have cravings, dehydration is often the culprit behind them. Your body gets confused and triggers feelings of hunger instead of thirst. So, you reach for food rather than water and consume more calories.
Ideally, you’ll drink 8-10 8-ounce glasses of water each day. Using a marked water bottle makes it easier to measure and track how much water you’ve consumed throughout the day.
Cut Out Sugar Drinks
Honestly, I love drinking soda, coffee, and tea. In moderation, all of those things are fine, even soda. I follow an 80/20 diet, which means I eat 80% of things that are good for my body and healthy, leaving 20% for the extras. That way, I never feel guilty if I grab a soda with the pizza I ordered, or I’m happy to eat a bag of candy when I take my kids to the movie theaters.
However, an average bottle of soda can have up to 180 calories. So, remove those drinks from your diet. I have a glass of hot tea in the morning after waking up and a cup before bed. Reduce how much sugar you use, if any, if those cups.
Get As Much Sleep As You Can
I’ve always been a bit of a glutton when it comes to sleep. I want as much sleep as possible, and I have no shame in saying I love sleep.
Sleep makes a big difference when it comes to your weight loss as well as your breast milk production. Lack of sleep can slow your metabolism, as well as increase your hunger pains. It makes you more likely to reach for unhealthy snacks rather than cooking healthy meals.
Getting all the sleep needed when you have a new baby at home can be hard, but here are some suggestions.
- Go to bed when your baby goes to bed. You’ll be tempted to stay up, watch TV shows, or relax. Resist that urge and sleep whenever your baby goes to bed for the night.
- Sleep in whatever way gets you the most rest. The debate between co-sleeping or crib sleeping is enormous, and that’s not what we are debating. However, you must pick whatever will get you the most sleep possible.
- Take a nap whenever you can. If you have a partner or spouse, nap as often as possible.
Be Patient With Yourself
Don’t assume you’ll return to your normal body when your doctor clears you to work out. Your c-section recovery takes time, including weight loss.
Take time to prioritize your health and healing, eat healthy meals, drink plenty of water, and exercise properly to meet your goals. All these things are necessary for healthy weight loss, and you must always aim to lose weight healthily.
Have patience with your body, and know you’ll reach your target weight again with time.
Hey, this is Linda. My biggest accomplishment in life is being a mother of four children. Their current ages range from almost ten years old down to 20 months old.
I’m passionate about writing parenting articles because I understand so well all of the problems and trials you face as a parent. From breastfeeding woes to budgeting problems and behavior problems, along with everything in between, chances are I’ve faced it over the last ten years. Read more about Linda here.