Even while they're basking in the glow of new motherhood, most women are wondering how to drop those extra pregnancy pounds. But there are better reasons than fitting into your old jeans to make getting back into shape a priority: Losing excess weight may protect you from a heart attack or stroke, diabetes, and even some cancers. What's more, if you plan to have more children, starting out at a healthy weight may reduce your risk for serious pregnancy concerns such as gestational diabetes and preeclampsia (high blood pressure), according to a report from the March of Dimes. Babies born to heavy women also have a greater risk of prematurity, birth defects, and future problems such as heart disease and diabetes.
While losing extra weight is good for you, no one said it was easy. Babytalk asked experts in postpartum fitness, nutrition, and psychology to tell us their best strategies for attacking postpartum pudge. Here's what they said:
1. Eat healthfully and exercise Dieting alone makes dropping pounds more difficult, says Megan McCrory, Ph.D., research scientist in the Energy Metabolism Lab at the Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, in Boston. Studies show that postpartum women who exercise consistently lose more fat than those who don't.