A decent way to calculate calories burned in labor would be to study it just like a sport, find a sport with the closest activity, and check the calorie expenditure chart to estimate calories burned per hour of birth labor. For example, if we would use weightlifting to compare to vaginal childbirth, you should burn 300-400 calories per hour.
Realistically, the calorie burn would vary from one woman to another and from one birth to another because there is no such thing as two exact women who had the same pregnancy and delivery. So there will be a whole lot of variation from one person to the next.
Burning calories don’t stop at giving birth though, the sleepless nights and the first few months with a newborn will test your endurance and strength more than anything else.
A new study even shows that a parent loses more than 50,000 calories within a month of parenting.
Here are some of the few mom activities that would burn your calories faster.
10 ways to burn calories after giving birth
According to research published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, pregnancy weight consists of the baby, placenta, amniotic fluid, breast tissue, blood, uterus enlargement, and extra fats.
The extra fat acts as an energy reserve for birth and breastfeeding. However, excess weight gain can result in too much fat. This is what people generally refer to as “baby weight,” and it’s very common.
Losing the baby weight might seem easy but trust me, it will take more than eating less and doing all the chores around the house and for your little one.
Here’s a list of what might help you get rid of your baby weight after giving birth.
- Realistic goals – These celebrity moms on social media are lying to you, they did not shrink back to their old body just by taking a selfie with their newborn baby for 2 months straight. But seriously, you have to set realistic expectations on your weight loss journey, you will not see a huge difference at first, but if you stay consistent the result will surely be worth it. Also, make sure that you consult your doctor before starting any diet program to make sure that you will not be compromising your health just to lose weight.
- Avoid crash diet – After delivering a baby, your body needs good nutrition to heal and recover. Also, if you are breastfeeding, you need more calories than normal, according to the CDC. I know you want the fast result but getting the body that you want but being sick and weak in return is not worth it. Your baby needs you strong and active, take it easy on yourself.
- Watch calorie intake – I know it could be annoying for some people and it could be such a task every time you see food in front of you but it can also help you make sure that you are getting enough calories to get you with the energy and nutrition that you need. You can try keeping a food diary or download a calorie tracking application on your phone, you can even share what you eat with a friend who is also counting their calorie intake. Whatever works for you, do exactly that.
- Breastfeed – It’s well known that breastfeeding is best for babies but it is best for moms too! Besides all of the benefits to your baby like providing the best nutrition, strengthen the baby’s immune system, lowers the baby’s risks to disease, it reduces the risks for moms too. When you breastfeed, you use fat cells stored in your body during pregnancy along with calories from your diet to fuel your milk production and feed your baby.
- High-fiber foods – Eat foods with high fiber because it tends to be more filling than low-fiber foods, so you’re likely to eat less and stay satisfied longer. Foods like oats, quinoa, avocado, berries, beans, and many more high-fiber foods could lower cholesterol and helps control blood sugar levels as well as normalize bowel movements. Almost all the things that you need to help you achieve your healthy weight goal.
- Stock up proteins – There are so many important reasons why you should check that you are getting enough protein in your diet, most especially after giving birth. Protein is used by our body to build and repair tissues, it is what our body needs to regain its form now that our baby is out in the world. Protein is an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, and skin, the red blood cells also contain a protein compound that carries oxygen throughout the body. It helps supply your entire body with the nutrients it needs.
- Healthy snacks – The food intake of a mom after giving birth and staying up late for your newborn baby is usually missed breakfast, lunch, and dinner but we take a bite whenever we can. Snacks in between missed meals is the reality of parenthood (atleast for us who doesn’t have a nanny). Make sure that these snacks are healthy for your body to keep up with your role, fruits and nuts, whole wheat bread, whatever works for you as long as it’s healthy, it should be good.
- Avoid added sugar, refined carbs, highly processed foods, and alcohol – These are the types of food that will not help us get stronger and would cause more harm than help to achieving our ideal weight after giving birth. It could be hard to keep track at first but once you get used to it and it will become a habit, you’ll hardly notice that you’re doing it.
- Exercise – And here it is, the hardest thing in this list to do consistently (at least for most of us), but please consult with your doctor or midwife first before starting any postnatal exercise program. Once your doctor gives you a go signal to start doing exercise may it be as simple as walking, assess your body, don’t force it if you are not yet comfortable enough to move. Some of the benefits of exercising include restoring muscle strength and firm up your body, it also makes you less tired because it raises your energy level and improves your sense of wellbeing.
- Drink enough water – 8 to 10 glasses of water per day is what our body needs on a day, you will need more if you did some exercise. Water flushes out waste from your body, regulates body temperature, and helps your brain function. It also protects your tissues, spinal cord, and joints, it helps improve mood and helps boost energy. Yup, water can do all that and yes it helps you lose weight too.
A woman’s body undergoes hundreds of other unique changes as they carry a child to term. One of the significant changes is gaining extra weight to make sure that your baby’s development is doing well.
Few extra pounds in exchange for a healthy baby, a small price to pay once you see your dear one for the first time. Remember that you are a vessel to a life you now call by name; take it easy on yourself. You got this too!