New research published in the Diabetes Care journal suggests that three to 12 months after giving birth is the most appropriate time for mothers to start losing the ‘baby weight’.
Those who fail to lose any excess weight within a year of delivery (or put more weight on) could be putting their health at serious risk.
The study – which was conducted at the Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto – tracked the weight-loss of 300 healthy women following the birth of their babies. It also monitored risk factors such as blood pressure, bad cholesterol and resistance to insulin.
Whilst most of the women did not start losing weight immediately after the birth, between three and 12 months 75% of them lost weight – with exercise and physical activity cited as a key factors in this weight-loss.
The 25% who had no weight-loss, or gained weight during this period were found to have a poorer risk profile for developing diabetes or heart disease in later life.
Results of the study also showed that a woman’s weight one year after birth can strongly predict the likelihood of her being overweight 15 years later.
Dr Ravi Retnakaran, the diabetes researcher and clinician who led the study, said:
“What we’re seeing is the period between three and 12 months after delivery is a critical window during which practitioner and patient attention to weight control may be very important to long-term metabolic and vascular health.”
British Heart Foundation senior cardiac nurse, Maureen Talbot suggests that new mums should aim to keep active and eat a balanced diet following childbirth to promote healthy weight-loss:
“With a new baby you will undeniably have your hands full, so don’t try to rush into diets and fitness regimes.
“Instead, steadily ease yourself back into fitness by working physical activity into your routine, for example with a lunchtime walk or a mother-and-baby exercise class.”
If you need extra help losing excess weight, you may want to try hypnotherapy. Hypnotherapy can help to empower your mind so that you can take control of your food and fitness choices. Find out more by visiting our weight-loss page.
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