Doctors in Canada have shed new light on a question that plagues many new mums and mums-to-be, when you should start to shed the weight that you’ve put on throughout your pregnancy.
It seems the old adage of “nine months on, nine months off”, implying that having taken nine months to to agin the weight, the same amount of time should be given to lose the weight, may be somewhat true.
The study, published in Diabetes Care, argue that three to 12 months after birth is the crucial time to start losing the pregnancy weight.
Mothers who don’t lose “baby weight” within a year of giving birth could be putting their health at risk. Research also suggests that not losing the chances of being overweight 15 years later is also likely.
“Most women are not going to go back to their pre-pregnancy weight right away and we found that the typical pattern is more than 80% don’t by three months,” Dr Ravi Retnakaran, the diabetes researcher who led the study, told reporters.
“But, at some three months to 12 months, what we’re suggesting is that you should be on a trajectory of weight loss,” Dr Retnakaran argued.
The study found that women who retained much of their pre-natal weight a year later had higher blood pressure and a higher risk of developing diabetes and heart disease long-term.
Interestingly, such health factors were not present in these women at three months after childbirth. This suggests that between three and 12 months after birth is crucial time for mothers to lose at least some of the weight after giving birth.
“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,” Dr Retnakaran said.
While it is normal and necessary to gain weight during pregnancy, the amount of weight put on each pregnancy differs. The average is roughly 20 per cent or more of your body weight across the nine months.
It can be difficult to shed the weight after giving birth, with attempts to slim down hampered by a lack of time, exercise and loss of sleep and daily routine.
Previous research into pregnancy and weight gain after birth showed that exercise is an important factor for weight loss post-pregnancy.