Some people lose weight easily and find it a struggle to gain. I am one of those people. Some may consider this very lucky, but after I had three emergency surgeries for an undetected ovarian ectopic pregnancy, I found it really difficult to regain the weight I’d lost while being unable / unwilling to eat much and puking my guts up in hospital.
On the other hand, I happily put on 14 kilogrammes when I was pregnant with The Child, and she only weighed a little over two when she was born. The reality is you will have that tummy flap for quite a while after delivery — your abdominal skin has stretched and it needs time to regain its elasticity.
It ended up taking me about five months to go back to my pre-pregnancy weight. I didn’t go on a diet, I didn’t start an exercise regime. While I’m ‘lucky’ to have skinny genes, I think a few things really made a difference in how my body changed during and after pregnancy.
- Your baby benefits when you breastfeed, and so do you. My body works hard to make milk (and has been doing so for the last 20 months), so The Child feeding at least a couple of times a night and quite a few times during the day is the main reason why I am bloody starving all the time. Sometimes I just need calories, so I eat pretty much anything I can get my hands on.
- Use your buggy or baby carrier and walk everywhere (within reason, of course). The Child gets lots of fresh air — which helps her get sleepy — and so do I. Be brisk, but there’s no need to go nuts. If you have a jogger (one of those three-wheeled numbers), I expect you already know you can go running with them*. I briefly joined a community gym that let The Child hang out during a circuits class; I even used her (as a weight) in the workout sometimes, but her changing social calendar soon put an end to that.
- If you get a chance to take your toddler to a soft play (i.e. an indoor playground with lots of foam protecting all hard edges), don’t just sit and chat with your friends. Chase your kid around within the play area. You’ll be the ‘fun parent’ for a while and get some cardiovascular exercise at the same time.
*As an aside, I plan to join in my local Parkrun as soon as my schedule allows. I signed up while we were still living in Scotland, i.e. pre-2011, and I’ve never turned up for one yet. One can always hope.