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How Long Does it Take to Lose Belly Fat Post Pregnancy?

Each woman's body responds differently, and the process of regaining your pre-pregnancy body can take months or even years. Not only do your muscles, skin and tissue have to shrink back, but you have to contend with the extra fat your body took on purposely to support breastfeeding. If you made the mistake of eating for two, your journey may take a little longer.

Healing Period

The first hurdle you have to overcome in your quest for post-baby weight loss is your own healing period 2. You have to allow your body time to transition back into that of a non-pregnant person. Some women find they can resume light activity and exercise just days after delivery, while others, especially women who had surgical deliveries or pregnancy complications, need weeks or months before they have the strength to embark on a weight-loss journey 1. As soon as you feel up to tackling your post-baby body, make an appointment to get your doctor's blessing.

Diet and Exercise

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You're going to lose a large chunk of weight in the days and weeks following your pregnancy. Your blood volume will return to normal and your skin will begin to stretch back. Once that process ends, it's up to you to take over. The best way to accomplish your goals in a healthy way is by eating a healthy diet and exercising. Diet and exercise cause weight loss primarily by creating a calorie deficit and building lean muscle.

Breastfeeding Advantage

Moms who breastfeed have a slight edge over moms who formula feed when it comes to weight loss. Since your body works regularly to create breast milk, it burns a few hundred additional calories per day. That additional calorie burn helps you lose weight without making drastic changes to your diet or adding exercise while you establish a breastfeeding routine. In fact, BabyCenter recommends waiting at least two months before actively trying to lose weight so you don't adversely affect your milk supply.

Keeping it Safe

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Patience is one of the key safety elements to post-pregnancy weight loss. While you might want to lose the weight right away, starting a diet and pushing yourself to exercise before you heal results in fatigue during a time in your life when you need your energy the most. Fast weight loss can also introduce toxins into your breast milk. Even if this does happen, "breast milk remains the healthiest food for your baby, so don't let this deter you from breastfeeding," according to BabyCenter lactation consultant Susan Condon 3.

The Wrap Up

Each woman's body responds differently, and the process of regaining your pre-pregnancy body can take months or even years.