What should I eat to lose weight and stay healthy?

It is important to make sure you are getting the nutrition you need after childbirth, for recovery and healing.

 

If you are concerned about losing weight and gaining muscle as soon as possible, keep these points in mind.

  • You lost about ten pounds during the delivery:  the baby, the placenta and amniotic fluid.
  • Much of the swelling and weight on your body for the first week or two is made up of the remaining fluid and tissue in your uterus, which is gradually coming out as lochia.  Most of the extra water your body stored during pregnancy will leave your body through sweating and urination.
  • Dieting is not recommended until six weeks after childbirth if you aren’t breastfeeding.  Dieting is not recommended at all while you are breastfeeding.
  • If you diet, talk to your health care provider about getting the nutrition you need and making sure you won’t be losing much more than a half pound every month.  It is also important to include an exercise program to build strength while you lose fat you don’t need.

Here is a list of foods containing the nutrients your body needs:

  • Water – Clear water, juices and soups
  • Fat – Dairy products (milk, yogurt, cheese), lean meats, nuts and eggs
  • Carbohydrates – Whole grains (not processed), rice, pasta, fruits and vegetables
  • Protein – Dried beans, nuts and peanut butter, eggs, dairy and lean meats
  • Vitamin A – Carrots, sweet potatoes and dark leafy greens
  • Vitamin C – Oranges, broccoli, sweet peppers, potato skins and berries
  • Calcium – Dairy, collard greens, broccoli, dried beans and fish
  • Iron – Spinach, tofu, whole-grain foods, lean red meats and dried fruits

Eat more of this:

  • Fresh foods, fruits, vegetables  instead of canned
  • High fiber foods such as bran, broccoli, cauliflower and fruit
  • Lean meats instead of fatty processed (sausage, bacon, pepperoni)
  • Baked, grilled, or broiled foods instead of fried

Be aware of products that pass into breast milk. Certain common products pass into your breast milk and may affect your baby’s health. Call your health care provider to ask questions before using these products.
Some of these products are:

  • Caffeine
  • Tobacco
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Alcohol
  • Cold and weight loss medications

Prescription drugs should be taken only with the advice from your health care provider.
Do not use illegal drugs.

References
AWHONN.  (2006).  The Compendium of Postpartum Care, 2nd Edition. Philadelphia, PA:  Medical Broadcasting Company.