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Pregnancy Weight Gain Myths

Admit it: Even before you had your baby, you were thinking about how you'd drop the extra pregnancy pounds. Now that your bundle of bliss is here, test your postbaby weight-loss smarts. True or false:

Most women can lose the weight in six to eight weeks. False. Only a few women shed postpartum pounds that speedily. Depending on how much you have to lose, "six months is a good goal to shoot for," says Cheryl Lovelady, Ph.D., R.D., professor of nutrition at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Breastfeeding helps you drop the baby weight. True, but only if you nurse for at least three months: Even though breastfeeding requires about 500 extra calories a day, you're not burning many more calories in addition to that (after all, nursing requires a lot of sitting around!). Plus, you should be taking in more, so the calories you burn are more or less canceled out. As your baby gets older, and nursing becomes easier and less frequent, you're free to be more active and take advantage of the extra calories burned by nursing.

You shouldn't exercise while breastfeeding. False. It's best to avoid strenuous workouts until breastfeeding is well-established (by about 4 weeks), but after that, exercise won't hinder milk production. Just start slowly, build gradually, and slow down the pace if you feel fatigued or lose more than a pound a week.

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