If you’re one of the 30% of women who ended up with a c-section, then chances are you’re wondering how you can lose your baby weight after a c-section. Losing weight after surgery can be tricky; you need to do so safely but also effectively.
After I had my second baby and second c-section, I knew that I wanted to lose weight. With my first child, I lost all of my weight instantly, but I had put on extra pounds before I got 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’s going to be an individual issue.
I want to show you what I did to hopefully help you lose the weight that you want and feel good about your body.
Don’t Exercise Before You Talk to Your Doctor
I know that 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 any form of regular exercise until you’re, at least, eight weeks postpartum.
Why do you need to wait that long?
It’s simple; you need to take care of your incision. If you try to lift weights, do sit-ups, or put any unneeded pressure on your incision, you can rip open your incision, and that would be horrible.
Also, even if your external incision is closed, it’s easy to forget that you have a wound inside of your uterus. When your placenta detached, it left a wound the size of a paper plate. You might notice that if you exercise too soon after your surgery that you start to bleed more. 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 like an uncomfortable thing to wear, but these girdles help to 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 don’t need it anymore.
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, then it will naturally take longer to lose weight when 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 I’m 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 per day 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 do need to make sure you take in around 1,800-2,000 calories or more per day. Dropping too much weight too fast will result in the loss of 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 at 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 that I could easily walk with my kids. I knew that I could take a daily walk, and my kids wouldn’t complain about the time out.
I strived to walk a mile each day, but if I had time to walk by myself, I tried to walk even more. I started to add in some jogging whenever my husband was able to stay with my kids, but don’t feel as if you need to jog.
On average, you burn 100 calories, whether you walk or run one mile. Seriously, the amount of calories that you burn is the same, but when you run, it’s just faster results 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 much as 600 calories. It does depend on your current weight and what you do while doing yoga, but this goes to show 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 causes your abdominal muscles to contract, which puts more pressure on them. That can cause more damage. When you do planks, it offered 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 of the calories needed to get rid of the extra belly fat that might be leftover at your delivery.
Another reason you might want to try HIIT workouts is that 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 a 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 to have a fatty meal, you need to leave the carbs at the door. If you want a meal full of carbohydrates, fats need to be strictly limited.
Another trick is that you need to eat every three hours (or sooner if you’re a breastfeeding mother) but stop the snacking between meals. Each time you eat, you need to have 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 adds unhealthy fats to your system.
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 then, you 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 drunk throughout the day.
Cut Out Sugar Drinks
I’ll be honest; 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 I wake up and a cup before I go to 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 that 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.
It can be hard to get all of the sleep needed when you have a new baby at home, 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 just spend time relaxing. Resist that urge and go to sleep whenever your baby goes to bed for the night.
- Sleep in whatever ways 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 need to pick whatever will get you the most sleep possible.
- Take a nap whenever you can. If you have a partner or spouse, take naps as often as you can.
Be Patient With Yourself
Don’t assume that you’ll snap back to your normal body as soon as your doctor clears you to workout. 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 use proper exercises to meet your goals. All of these things are necessary for healthy weight loss, and you always need to aim to lose weight healthily.
Have patience with your body and know that with time, you’ll reach your target weight again.
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.