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Juniper Journal

Losing weight after pregnancy: When and how can you start?

Whether you had your baby vaginally or via C-section, your body should be celebrated and cared for.

Losing weight after pregnancy: When and how can you start?
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Ok, let’s get one thing clear before we start. We’re absolutely not advocating that losing weight after pregnancy is something you should aim for or focus on after safely delivering your baby. 

Whether you had your baby vaginally or via C-section, your body should be celebrated and cared for, and given just as much respect after birth as you gave it throughout your pregnancy. 

What we are here to do is guide you through what happens to your body after birth, what the recovery timeline looks like and when it's safe to get back into a gentle exercise routine once you feel up to it.

What happens to the body after baby?

So, you’ve safely had your baby… now what? Postpartum recovery begins, but you might not be aware of what your body goes through during this period. 

Throughout your pregnancy, your body has had to adapt — a lot. It’s changed to accommodate your beautiful baby, after all. So it’s only logical that it takes time to heal and go back to its pre-baby state (although this might look and feel a little different now, which is OK). 

Just like pregnancy and birth are different for everyone, the same can be said for postpartum. Depending on the type of birth and whether there were complications or not will determine how your body heals. 

First few weeks

The first week with your newborn might feel like a shock, and that is completely normal. You’re navigating an entirely new routine, a healing body, high emotions (thanks to those hormones levelling out) and a lack of sleep. 

During this time, you will be healing a lot, whether you had a vaginal birth or C-section. Keep on top of painkillers, and use your peri healing kit (like Kin's Peri Bottle) to make using the bathroom less painful. 

You’ll also experience heavy bleeding for the first few weeks after giving birth (regardless of what type of birth it was). Most women stop bleeding 4-6 weeks after giving birth [1]. 

Moments after giving birth, your uterus will slowly start to shrink back to its original size. If you’re unfamiliar, to give you some context, during pregnancy, the uterus expands from the size of a lemon to the size of a watermelon [2].

Since it's got some shrinking to do, this can cause cramping for the first week or so. Your uterus may take around 6 weeks to get back to its original size. It will take time for your pregnancy belly to reduce in size and the uterus plays a large role in that.

During this time, you may also notice some postpartum hair loss. While this can be concerning, it’s completely normal and is due to your hormones post-birth levelling out and the hair cycle finding its rhythm again. 

If you’re feeling up to it after the first week, you can do some gentle exercise like going out for a walk. This will all depend on your doctor’s orders, though. If you had a C-section and have been told to fully rest up, then do just that — and soak up all those newborn cuddles. 

6 weeks

You’ve reached 6 weeks! This is around the time you’ll have your 6-week check-up. This is the time that some of your pains and bleeding should have begun subsiding.

If you still find you have pains that are troublesome, this is the ideal time to address them with your GP. The same goes for your emotional well-being, if you have concerns or aren’t feeling yourself, get some help from your GP. 

4-6 months

It’s been 4-6 months now and your body should be fully healed by now. This is where you can really start to get into the swing of old routines and exercise habits if you’re keen to get started again. 

How much weight do you lose right after giving birth?

Immediately after giving birth, you will still look somewhat pregnant, in part due to your uterus having not shrunk in size yet.

However, you will lose on average 4-5kg after giving birth (including the placenta and amniotic fluid).

Does the body naturally lose weight after pregnancy?

In short, yes, your body starts to naturally lose weight gradually after pregnancy. However, you won’t return to your pre-pregnancy weight or body straight away. After all, it took 9 months to grow your baby so it will take the same, if not longer, to get back to that.

It’s also important to note that your life has drastically changed. You likely won’t have the luxury of time you once did and your priorities have changed. Whilst it’s important to move your body and nourish it with food, getting back to your pre-pregnancy weight isn’t always possible, especially not immediately. 

By 6 weeks, a lot of people have lost half of their baby weight [3]. There is no one "healthy weight" ever, but particularly when it comes to postpartum weight loss. How much weight you may lose or not depends on a variety of factors.

Does breastfeeding help you lose weight?

Breastfeeding can impact postpartum weight; around 500g-1kg per month [4]. 

It can assist with losing weight simply because it burns up to 500 calories per day. You may actually find that you need to eat a little more (and keep very hydrated) to keep your milk supply up. 

By the same token, rapid postpartum weight loss can actually impact your breast milk production with little coming in.

When can you start exercising after giving birth?


Due to the nature of a C-section being major abdominal surgery (go, mama!), you’ll likely have to spend more time resting before diving back into exercising. It’s recommended to take it very slowly for the first 6 weeks, only doing light exercise (such as walking) as you feel comfortable. 

After about 6 weeks, you can start to ease yourself back into exercising like jogging, swimming and slow yoga. However, if you feel at any point that you’ve pushed yourself a little too much, just slow down and take it back a notch. 

Vaginal birth

If you had an uncomplicated birth, you can begin gentle exercise as soon as you feel up to it. This may be going for a walk a few days after, or waiting a week or so to venture out. Once you feel comfortable with walks, you can try gentle jogging and exercises like Pilates. 

With both, it’s important that you listen to your body and try not to do too much too quickly. Your body will let you know when it’s ready to get back into the swing of things, but in the meantime, make sure you rest up. 

And, be sure to check with your doctor before beginning any exercise post-birth.

What foods should be in a post-baby diet?

We’re not about unsafe dieting here, let’s get that clear. But knowing what foods can help you feel your best whilst navigating the newborn stage can be helpful. 

You can easily get constipated during the postpartum period — especially if you’re taking a cocktail of painkillers to keep on top of pain levels — so making sure you’re eating lots of fibre is important. 


Getting veggies in is super important to ensure you're getting enough fibre in your diet. Many women experience constipation in the postpartum period so eating all of your greens combats this. Plus, it gives your body all of the nutrients it needs.

Lean protein

Lots of protein from foods like meat (not the highly processed kind), cheese, milk, fish and beans keep your body feeling its strongest and help to repair during this postpartum period.

Kin's Essential Protein gives you all of the protein you need in a simple, easy-to-take powder and is enriched with beneficial probiotics that support both mum and bub’s development and aid in recovery during the fourth trimester.

Whole grains

Whole grains like oats, brown rice and quinoa help to give you the nutrients your body needs and the energy to tackle the day.


You might find that you need more water than pre-pregnancy, especially if you're breastfeeding. Be sure to keep your water intake up.

How long can it take to lose baby weight?

Reiterating what we mentioned earlier, you may never “lose your baby weight” and it’s not something you should aim for. Your body made a baby (!) so it likely won’t be completely the same again — and that’s both natural and beautiful. 

To see a return to your new normal, it can take about 9-12 months. Most women will lose half of their baby weight after 6 weeks.

Is it healthy to lose pregnancy weight fast?

It is never healthy nor a good idea to lose your pregnancy weight quickly. It can be dangerous during recovery (your body needs all of the energy and nutrients through calories it can get) to lose too much weight. This may also impact your milk supply. 

Any loss of weight — especially after giving birth — should be slow and steady.

Why is it so hard to lose weight after pregnancy?

First things first, you’re caring for a newborn baby. Please try not to be hard on yourself. You are juggling a lot right now so if you’re finding it difficult, you’re not alone.

Your body has a lot of recovering to do. Whether you had a vaginal or birth via C-section, your body will be in pretty intense recovery mode for at least 6 weeks. Resting up is actually the best thing you can do to speed along getting back to normal and losing weight if you want to. 

You’re likely not moving around as much as you used to, you’re probably not eating as much (grabbing quick snacks here and there) and definitely sleeping less. All of these things can make any loss of weight a little bit more difficult.

Best ways to approach weight loss after pregnancy

If you have recovered after birth and you'd like to approach weight loss — in a healthy and sustainable way, of course — here are a few ways to go about it.

Eat important nutrients

Give your body what it needs to rest and recover, including lots of vegetables, whole grains, plenty of fruit, nuts and seeds, protein, and lots of water — these combined will make sure your body is getting all the nutrients it needs.

Where possible, try to avoid regular junk food (we're talking fried foods and anything highly processed foods). Although we're all about balance so get those takeaway meals when you want but try to make sure your body is getting enough veg, too.

Gentle exercise

Repeat after us: physical activity doesn't have to be intense. The key here is gentleness. Try walking with a friend and your pram, or some slow-flowing yoga or a few lengths in the pool.

Even things like swimming lessons with your little one count. You don't have to be doing a HIIT workout to get moving.


We know this one might be difficult to stick to but it's important to note. Sleep is incredibly important when it comes to recovery and in turn, losing weight after pregnancy.

Of course, getting 8-10 hours of uninterrupted sleep a night is a no-go, but getting as much help as you can to get a few nights of good rest a week can really help. Plus, it gives you more energy to get out and about during the daytime.

A healthy diet (avoiding processed foods), some gentle postpartum exercise, avoiding rapid weight loss, being kind to your body, and resting up lots can all help to lose baby weight.

Doing so safely is always what's most important. If you're worried about postpartum weight gain or life after giving birth, visit your healthcare provider to address any of your concerns.

It’s more than just weight loss

Thousands of Australian women have found new confidence with Juniper.

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