The period after giving birth is critical for women’s health, as this is when additional weight gain commonly occurs. In fact, weight gain during pregnancy is a known predictor of postpartum weight retention. Postpartum weight retention or an increase in body mass index (BMI) between pregnancies is associated with an increased risk for adverse pregnancy outcomes in the future. At the same time, excessive pregnancy-related weight gain and retention also contribute to increased obesity among women.

However, behavioral and lifestyle interventions can help women significantly reduce or manage these postpartum weight outcomes. Study results indicate that interventions considerably increased the percentage of women who returned to their pre-pregnancy weight, regardless of whether or not the woman was overweight or obese before pregnancy. Below, we’ll discuss the importance of postpartum weight management and how you can work on it:

Why Postpartum Weight Management Is Important

Weight changes during pregnancy and afterwards contribute to obesity and adverse health outcomes for women. It’s important to note that weight gain during and after pregnancy is expected of women to ensure adequate fetal growth and healthy birth weight in newborns. Mothers also need proper nutrition to have enough energy to care for their babies, children, and family. While some women can lose the weight they gain after pregnancy, the rate of weight gain differs, with the risk of obesity being a concern.

It’s essential to prevent obesity as this condition presents several risk factors, particularly for postnatal mothers. There is a vast difference between simply being overweight vs obesity. Compared to being overweight scientific research shows that many dangerous health conditions are related to obesity. These include poor blood sugar regulation, inflammation throughout the body, and 200 other obesity-associated disorders. Some health problems linked to obesity, such as depression, anxiety, and sleep apnea, can also heavily impact a mother’s capability to care for their child.

According to experts, one of the three evidence-backed ways to treat obesity and improve a mother’s health is to make lifestyle and behavioral changes. Eating, exercising, managing stress, maintaining social connections, and sleeping are all critical daily factors that can lead to weight loss and better health.

How to Manage Your Postpartum Weight

Behavioral and lifestyle changes can significantly help with weight management postpartum. However, it’s important to remember that your body deserves time to heal, so don’t rush yourself. Below are some tips for postpartum weight management:


The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity weekly exercise. Women can start exercising after pregnancy as long as they do not have medical complications or surgical restrictions. Exercise improves your physical fitness and contributes to healthy weight loss — it’s also beneficial for your psychological well-being after giving birth, as exercising reduces the risk of obesity, postpartum depression, and metabolic conditions.


Postpartum weight gain is tied to a shorter duration of breastfeeding, which is associated with decreased sleep. A study found that sleep accounts for the relationship between a mother’s BMI and breastfeeding duration. Mothers with fewer children and greater hours of sleep can breastfeed longer, keeping their babies well-nourished. At the same time, sleep can also impact postpartum weight gain. For instance, mothers who exclusively breastfed for the first six months—and had more sleep—had a smaller postpartum weight increase than those who didn’t. Getting enough sleep can help your body regulate your weight while positively impacting your ability to care for your child.


Finally, a great factor in weight management is how and when you eat. For mothers, working in the kitchen can be overwhelming after giving birth, leading them towards easy solutions like ordering fast food—which can be detrimental to their weight. Our past post on family health hacks recommends cooking with your family as a positive bonding activity instead. This way, you also get the much-needed extra kitchen help while keeping you and your family well-fed. You can cook with your spouse and ask older children for help to instill nutrient-based eating habits. Plus, your children can benefit from learning a vital life skill in cooking, along with improved basic math and reading skills, which they can develop from working with recipes.

If you are concerned about your health and weight management postpartum, we hope the above tips help.