Can we all agree that after having a baby our diet is not necessarily our top priority? Adjusting to a new baby, new schedule, and new responsibilities can feel overwhelming at times. But as nurses, we are here to give you a gentle reminder that your health matters, and that a healthy diet isn’t just important prior to conception but should continue all the way through postpartum recovery and beyond. We know that we all miss the target sometimes; that’s just part of being human. But we’ve got you! Once your baby is here and your parenting journey begins, here are a few ways to help stay on target and get rid of the extra baby fat.

Drop the Pregnancy Pounds: Drink More Water

One of the biggest and most natural ways to lose weight and body fat is to increase your water intake. Whether you like it at room temperature, hot, or iced, our bodies need it. Hydration is essential to the function of literally every cell in your body. Plus, it’s the original when it comes to flushing out toxins. Make it a goal to drink a minimum of eight glasses of water a day, and if you’re still thirsty drink more. If you’re breastfeeding, chestfeeding, or pumping breastmilk, you’ve probably felt that intensely parched feeling. The thirst that hits you when your baby latches is your body’s way of telling you to drink more water!

Cut Carbohydrates

Bread, Bread, Bread! Oh, I tell you this can be challenging. Changing our habits to decrease carb consumption doesn’t happen overnight. But some carbs are good for you and making the switch from non-beneficial carbs to nutrientdense whole grains, brown rice, sweet potatoes, and veggies like zucchini squash is essential to losing weight. Refined carbs such as grits, white bread, traditional pasta, and white rice increase insulin production, which can lead to increased weight. Of course, it’s important to get enough calories to fuel your energy, healing, and lactation, and you want those calories to really nourish you—refined carbs simply can’t do that.

Move it, Move it!

Moving your body is key to feeling strong, flexible, and energized, and it’s an important tool for trimming excess body fat. While recovering from childbirth, it’s important to take a slow and gentle approach to exercise. Start with some gentle stretches to soothe sore muscles, increase strength and flexibility, and brighten your mood. Add a short daily walk with your baby and you’re off to a great start! Walking is a safe, low impact exercise, and even just 20 minutes three times a week can make a big difference. Once you’re given the “all clear” by your pregnancy care provider, you can ramp things up a bit. Set yourself up for sustained success by starting off slow and then increasing the intensity of your workout as you build endurance.

Get Friendly

You know that you are strong and that you can accomplish your goals but staying in it can be hard! Find yourself an accountability partner: Someone who cares about you and your journey, like your partner or another parent who’s trying to kick those pregnancy pounds. Check-ins with friends make the journey more fun and reminds us of our worth along the way. Just like us, they want you to wake up each morning knowing how powerful you are. You got this!

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Author

Lakisa Ballard, MSN, RN, C-EFM, RNC-OB, is a Clinical Practice Specialist who specializes in perinatal nursing. She has worked in many high-risk pregnancy facilities across the U.S. and has a passion for educating our future nurses in obstetrics.

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