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Topic: Why it’s so hard to lose weight after pregnancy – and tips on how to succeed

Do you worry about getting “back in shape” after giving birth? You’re not alone. Returning to pre-pregnancy weight is a common and persistent cause of anxiety, but all is not lost.

The keys to successful postpartum weight loss, according to experts, are to understand the basics, begin with the end in mind, commit to a slow and steady exercise plan, and maintain mental resilience.

We break these down and share tips on how you can set yourself up for success throughout the process.


Pregnancy weight gain is a natural and necessary phenomenon, said one expert, contributed to by the growing baby, the placenta and amniotic fluid.

Weight gain is also due to the changes a woman’s body makes to support the pregnancy, such as increased blood supply, uterus growth, increased breast tissue and fat stores, said Dr Ho Xin Yi, an associate consultant at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital’s (KKH) obstetrics and gynaecology department.

During pregnancy, women may increase their daily caloric intake to support the baby’s growth, which causes weight gain as well, she added.

If you’re thinking about resisting weight gain, don’t – it’s a crucial aspect of delivering a healthy baby.

“Gaining the appropriate amount of weight in pregnancy ensures that your baby is of good birth-weight and also means that you do not have too much extra weight to shed after delivery,” said Dr Ho.

And how much weight gain is appropriate?

That depends on various factors including how much you weighed before the pregnancy, your health status and whether you’re carrying a single baby, twins or triplets.

The recommended weight gain for women of normal body mass index (BMI), who are carrying one baby, is 11kg to 16kg throughout the pregnancy, with the bulk of it taking place in the second and third trimesters, said Dr Ho.

“If you have a higher BMI, you are recommended to gain less pregnancy weight,” she added.

And once the baby has been delivered safely, it is “critical” that the woman try to return to her pre-pregnancy weight, unless she is underweight, Dr Ho said.

According to Caroline Chua, a senior principal physiotherapist at KKH, the target weight loss after delivery should be 1kg to 2kg a month.

“Many studies show that if the excess weight is not lost from six to 12 months after delivery, it may stay with the woman for a long time. The weight gained from each and every subsequent pregnancy may accumulate, causing obesity, which poses various health risks such as heart disease and diabetes.

Topic Discussed: Why it’s so hard to lose weight after pregnancy – and tips on how to succeed

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