It’s a known fact that pregnancy is challenging. Be it the nausea, stomach pain, fatigue, contraction or labour pain, it;s riddled with lots of health related challenges But the struggles don’t end once you deliver the baby, and one of the major concerns that most women deal with is weight gain post pregnancy.  

You may think that it’s easy to  lose the weight you put on after delivery, but it’s not always the case. Postpartum weight can be difficult to lose. You may lift those heavy dumbbells for hours, and run for miles on end, but the fact of the matter is you’ll be losing the weight slowly. 

So, if you have already been there, or are planning to extend your family, have you wondered why it happens? 

Keep on reading to find out. 

Why is postpartum weight loss difficult? 

Remember, not all baby weight is excess fat. You must also remember that the weight you’ll lose after delivery will include that of the baby, placenta, and blood volume. This may be 7-8 kgs of additional weight. There is no doubt about it that you’ll lose this weight immediately after delivery. But the fat that you accumulate all those months will still be there. It will take time and commitment to lose this additional weight. 

Less personal time: 

Motherhood comes with sacrifices. The greatest and the most precious sacrifice that you have to make is that of time. You may have to be on your toes feeding your baby, or taking care of them in general and you may struggle to find time for yourself. So, chances are less that you’ll be able to commit to a consistent workout routine. Losing weight demands consistency and time. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be able to lose the weight you’ve put on. It is one of the main reasons postpartum weight loss can become a mountain to climb. 

Limited movements: 

Let’s face it, you’ll be sitting most of the time – be it when you are breastfeeding or putting your baby to sleep. Bodily movements become limited after pregnancy. Forget a workout routine, you cannot even be physically active – at least as you used to be. 

Apart from exercising and nutrition, mobility also matters when you are losing weight. This is called Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT), which accounts for 15-30% of your daily calorie expenditure. 

Hence, with these limited movements, you will find it difficult to lose weight. 

Hormone imbalance: 

Most women struggle with hormonal imbalances after pregnancy. Your hormones undergo a change when you are pregnant. They will go back to normal after delivery, but this may take some time. They won’t snap back to normal levels immediately. Although this window differs for everybody, in general, it can take about 3 to 6 months. The window also depends if you are breastfeeding or not. 

Additionally, chronic hormone issues can be a usual occurrence after pregnancy. One may have low levels of progesterone after pregnancy. Consequently, these low levels can lead to oestrogen dominance, making your body store more fat around your midsection. 

Women may also experience thyroid issues that can make weight loss additionally difficult. This may happen due to thyroiditis, which causes inflammation and dysfunction of the thyroid gland. Initially, there may be excess thyroid hormone production, leading to weight loss despite increased appetite. However, over time, it can transition to hypothyroidism, resulting in weight gain or difficulty losing weight.


You must have heard that breastfeeding helps you lose weight. But it may not always be true. While there is no denying that nursing can burn a lot of calories, there can be a few complications that may affect your weight loss journey. For instance, your body may choose to hold onto weight so you can feed your baby even if the food becomes scarce. You wouldn’t be able to do the same if you were skinny. Hence, your body may hold onto 5-6 kgs when you are breastfeeding. 

This happens because of a hormone called prolactin. It is essential for breast milk production, and can also promote fat storage. Its levels typically rise during and after pregnancy, persisting until breastfeeding concludes. If not breastfeeding, prolactin levels usually normalise a few weeks after pregnancy. 

Also, breastfeeding can increase appetite, leading to potential overeating. Contrary to the misconception of “eating for two,” most women only require an extra 300 to 400 calories for breastfeeding. However, some may exceed this by snacking on high-calorie foods or eating more frequently due to increased hunger associated with breastfeeding.

You lose strength and stamina over time: 

Most women stop working out, if they did before, during pregnancy to reduce or prevent pregnancy complications. This may cause a loss of strength, stamina and muscle. Hence, you may take some time to develop the same fitness levels as you did before. Once muscles develop, you will lose fat faster. 

Less sleep: 

Apart from making other sacrifices, you also sacrifice sleep. Just so you know, sleep is essential for weight loss. Your hormones and metabolism change for the worse when you don’t have adequate sleep. This may be a significant factor contributing to the difficulty of losing weight after pregnancy. 

Closing thoughts 

Shedding postpartum weight can be challenging due to hormonal and lifestyle changes. Nevertheless, adopting a balanced approach to nutrition, exercise, and self-care can be of help when it comes to achieving healthy and sustainable postpartum weight loss. It’s vital that you prioritise both physical and mental well-being on this journey. Take things slow, listen to your body, stay committed, and get help if you need to. Losing that postpartum weight is essential for your general well-being. You must not undermine it. Take command of your health, even when you have a baby to take care of.

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