Kick-start your post-baby diet between three and 12 months after birth and you'll reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes
It’s probably not top of your list of priorities right now, but there comes a time when you know you’re going to have to put away the biscuits that are helping you get through 2am feeds, and start your post-birth health kick.
Now doctors in Canada have said that the key time to start losing your baby weight is three to 12 months after the birth, and that mothers who fail to start losing excess weight within their baby’s first year, or put pounds on after birth, could be increasing their risk of high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease.
Researchers followed 300 patients at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, Canada throughout their pregnancy and the year following their birth. Three-quarters of the women lost at least some of their baby weight after a year and tests showed that they had healthy levels of cholesterol and blood pressure.
However those that stayed the same weight or gained extra pounds showed a clear increase in the risk of diabetes and heart disease.
Dr Ravi Retnakaran, who led the study, says, ‘Most women are not going to go back to their pre-pregnancy weight right away and we found that the typical pattern is that more than 80% don't by three months.
‘But what we're seeing is the period between three and 12 months after delivery is a critical window during which practitioner and patient should pay attention to weight control to improve long-term metabolic and vascular health.’
Of course, it’s important that you know when to start losing weight after your baby. Start too soon after birth and you could cause yourself real harm (so forget about all those pictures of celebrity mums who are back in their skinnies two weeks after birth).
Begin exercise routines slowly and gradually and don’t restrict your food intake if you’re breastfeeding – you’ll need the energy to make enough milk. If you've been trying to lose weight but haven't seen any results, find out why that might be.
How soon did you start losing weight after your baby arrived? Let us know below.