Lose weight post-pregnancy, but don't rush it, say experts
Gaining weight after pregnancy is natural. Then why fuss over Aishwarya Rai's extra pounds, ask health experts
Regular crunches, low-impact exercises and small but frequent meals a day can help new moms get back in shape. But stay away from dieting.
Gynaecologist Archana Dhawan says it is unfair to compare Aishwarya's frame with those of Hollywood's yummy mummies as the body structure of each person varies.
"People have their own pace to lose weight, or they would have their own targets. Some can lose in six months whereas others take more than a year. As long as you are making a constant effort and you are feeding the baby regularly and doing exercise, you can lose weight," Dhawan, from the capital's The Nurture Clinic, told IANS.
"Whether it's Aishwarya or any normal adult, everybody has a right to decide at what speed they want to lose weight. As long as you are losing it, good enough. As per geographical distribution, the body frame also varies across the world," she said.
A proper exercise regimen is of utmost importance, says Amrapali Patil, CEO of Trim N Tone The Obesity Clinic.
"Exercising after pregnancy helps to lose those extra pounds put on during pregnancy, alleviate postpartum depression. Unlike dieting, it doesn't interfere with your breastfeeding," she said.
Experts suggest yoga, indoor exercises and regular crunches to shed extra flab.
It is important to consult a physician before commencing any exercise programme as the post-pregnancy period is a delicate state.
"Till six months, when women are breastfeeding, they should take high calorie diet. But after those six months, one should maintain a low calorie and low carbohydrate diet," said nutritionist Rekha Gonsalves.
Since dieting can create a problem for mothers and indirectly to the newborn, regular exercise is the safest way out.
New mothers are advised exercise only after a certain period.
"Weight loss of about half a kg a week is safe and won't affect the milk supply if a woman is breastfeeding. It is safer to consult a physician to understand if one is ready for exercise. Also, it is safer to lose weight slowly. One should avoid a strict, restrictive diet," Gonsalves said.
"One should wait at least six weeks after a vaginal delivery of baby and eight weeks after a caesarean section to start exercising. It's best to start with low-impact exercises such as yoga, walking or swimming," she says.
For many women, pregnancy causes permanent mental and physical changes.
Patil warns that "rapid weight loss can release toxins that are stored in the body fat into the bloodstream and in the breastfeeding mother's milk supply."
"Starting a diet too soon after giving birth can delay recovery and make one feel more tired, irritated and depressed. Losing weight too quickly can affect lactation and reduce the breast milk," she says.
In terms of dieting, saturated and transfats should be avoided.
"The oils to avoid are saturated and transfats as these can contribute to heart disease and also diabetes. Saturated fats are found in meats and dairy products, and transfats are typically found in many fried foods, snack foods, and baked goods," Patil says.
Small and frequent meals, with a lot of fluid and fibre in the diet, can do wonders.
"Consuming low-fat milk, dairy products, wheat bread and whole grain cereal can help you lose weight," said Indu Bala Khatri, a consultant at Moolchand Women's Hospital.