Medically reviewed by Ashwathy V. Pillai, Postgraduate Degree in Dietetics & Applied Nutrition
Women everywhere are obsessed with how much weight one should put on during pregnancy and how quickly that weight should be shed.
While celebrities may make it look easy, remember they have an entourage to help out. So put the comparisons aside.
Experts advise that all you need to do is eat healthy, exercise and sleep whenever you can
Table of Contents
- Role of pregnancy hormone HCG in weight gain
- HCG supplies energy to the mom-to-be and her baby
- Why do you continue to gain weight once the baby is out
- Post pregnancy weight loss
The weight loss post pregnancy is best handled in a gradual manner, because you are also breastfeeding, which means that you cannot be on a very strict diet, or go on a fast.
You are still craving many types of foods since your body gets used to such foods, but you have to start cutting back on such foods or replace with healthier options.
Role of pregnancy hormone HCG in weight gain
When a woman gets pregnant and the placenta starts to develop, changes take place internally in order to protect and help develop the new life.
The placenta produces a hormone called HCG which helps in protecting the development of the baby.
Entering directly into the bloodstream, it automatically takes control of body functions like metabolism, digestion of food, energy and nutrition distribution.
HCG supplies energy to the mom-to-be and her baby
The hypothalamus in the brain is what controls our digestive system but when a woman is pregnant, she can eat a lot without necessarily gaining weight.
However, during pregnancy, the HCG overrides the hypothalamus functions and redirects all the energy and the fat stored in the body, first to the baby and then to the mother.
So, if you hadn’t had enough to eat during the day, the HCG will command the hypothalamus to break into its reserves of energy and nutrition, essential for the baby to grow.
Why do you continue to gain weight once the baby is out
While it’s perfectly normal to gain a little weight during pregnancy,
it is advised in some cases too, losing weight after the baby is born can become stressful and difficult.
There are quite a few medical explanations which can be found for weight gain after pregnancy. These are:
Caring for a newborn can become stressful. The stress that comes from the added responsibility triggers a chemical reaction in the body.
This releases certain hormones including cortisol which increases appetite, causing the body to store more fat around the midsection, adding more layers to what is known as the mom pouch.
Hormonal changes in the body can lead to depression post pregnancy.
Postpartum depression can range anywhere from little cases to psychosis. Depression leads to emotional eating which causes weight gain.
Approximately 5-7% of women experience thyroid problems after pregnancy. Also known as postpartum thyroiditis, this condition causes unstable levels of hormone production.
An under-active thyroid leads to weight gain and may require treatment after pregnancy if the problem persists.
It is not difficult to lose weight after pregnancy, but these are some of the issues that should be addressed if you are not succeeding with your weight loss attempts.