Fit and Healthy After the Baby

Dropping back to your prebaby weight is probably your primary goal, but you need to pay almost as much attention to your postbaby nutrition and exercise plan as you did your prenatal conditioning. So start planning today how you're going to get fit again.

Developing a regular routine of exercise and diet -- perhaps not immediately after the baby is born, but in the year that follows -- is the best way to begin. And some of your work has already begun: You have probably been paying more attention to nutrition because of the needs of pregnancy and breastfeeding. Exercise is equally important. If you haven't been a regular exerciser, now is the perfect time to start. Look for a postpartum exercise class that includes the baby as well -- also a great way to meet other new mothers.

Remember that during the first six weeks your body is still going through complicated physiological adjustments that are stressful for metabolism. Don't go on a radical diet in the first months after having a baby -- it's more important to stay healthy and energetic. Nevertheless, you're very likely to continue to lose weight at a surprising rate without even trying. Most women will retain an extra five or ten pounds while lactating. Don’t worry -- within 10 to 12 weeks after weaning, this weight will slip away.

Several women have said to us, "I can't possibly wait until I stop breastfeeding." However the idea is not "eat whatever you want and grow fat as you please because it doesn't matter." What "don't diet" means is "don't crash-diet" or "don't starve yourself."

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