The Expected Weight Loss After Delivery

As a result of seeing celebrities bounce back immediately after giving birth, many women are under the misconception that as soon as their babies are born, their midsections will return to what they were pre-pregnancy. However, because more weight is put on during pregnancy than babies weigh, it takes some time to return to not only the weight women were before they became pregnant but to lose the baby bump that came with the weight gain. As such, women should expect to only lose a small portion of their pregnancy weight right after delivery.


The amount of pressure that there is for women to look like they did pre-pregnancy as soon as their babies are delivered is staggering. Much of that pressure, women put on themselves. This is because while women think the baby bump is cute while pregnant but a bit less so after their babies have been welcomed into the world. And because of this, women want to lose the pregnancy weight as soon as possible, hoping that a majority of it will come from giving birth.

RELATED: The Normal & Not-So-Normal Reasons For Excessive Postpartum Weight Loss

Here is how much weight you can expect to lose right after delivery.

How Much Weight Is Gained During Pregnancy

via Pexels/Ketut Subiyanto

Depending upon the weight women are when they are pregnant determines how much weight they should gain during pregnancy. However, according to the Centers for Disease Controlnearly half of American women gain more than what is recommended during pregnancy.

According to WebMD, there is a range of weight that women should gain based upon the weight they are when they get pregnant. For most, this amount is 25 to 35 pounds. For those who are underweight, the weight jumps to 28 to 40 pounds during pregnancy, and for those who are overweight, only 15 to 25 pounds should be gained during pregnancy.

The weight gained is not all because of babies, per the publication. This is why pregnancy weight is not all lost at the time of delivery. Instead, the weight is dispersed via the baby, the placenta, amniotic fluid, excess blood pumping in the body, uterus, and fat storage. The more weight that is gained, the more fat-storage there is. And this is the weight that women have to work at losing after giving birth.

And because nearly half of all pregnant women put on excessive weight during pregnancy, they have to work a bit harder and longer to lose the weight to get back to their pre-pregnancy physique.

Weight Loss That Occurs With Delivery

postpartum body woman holding newborn

Since women are not going to lose all of their pregnancy weight during labor and delivery, what weight can they expect to lose?

According to the Mayo Clinic, women can expect to lose approximately 13 pounds when they deliver their babies. The weight loss can be attributed to the weight of the baby (eight pounds), placenta (two to three pounds), and amniotic fluid (two to three pounds.) Because of this, unless women did not put on the recommended amount of weight during pregnancy, there is at least some weight that will remain after delivering babies. And not only is it normal but healthy that this happens.

Expected Weight Loss In The Days Following Delivery

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In the days and weeks after delivery, internally, the body will begin to return to how it functioned before pregnancy. And because of this, a bit more weight will come off.

According to MedlinePlus, by the time women reach six months postpartum, they can anticipate having lost half or a bit more of their pregnancy weight. This can be attributed to blood volume returning to normal, uterus size shrinking, and water retention is reduced.

What takes longer to lose is the fat storage that occurred during pregnancy. But because the body relies on some fat storage to be able to produce the breast milk necessary to satiate babies, it is recommended that weight loss happens slowly over the course of months, up to one year after the birth of babies. This way, the body does not feel starved, which will only serve to decrease milk production.

Body May Have A New “Normal” After Pregnancy

moms in t-shirt and panties

For some women, even after the pregnancy weight is lost, they never get back the body they had before expecting. And there is nothing wrong with that.

According to Healthline, it can take anywhere between 12 and 18 months for women to get all of their pregnancy weight off. But even after this happens, there may be permanent changes in the body. As such, the new “normal” may look something different from what it did before babies were in the picture.

Some of those changes to the body, per the publication, are caused by diastasis recti, (separation of abdominal muscles that causes a permanent bump to the midsection), pelvic bones that have permanently widened making the hip size larger, or even a softer stomach area overall.

Therefore, while it is healthy to return to pre-pregnancy weight to keep weight-related issues from cropping up and staying healthier overall, women should know that what they look like postpartum may not be what they looked like pre-pregnancy. And be it smaller, larger, or somewhere in between, women should be proud of their bodies and what they can do which is being strong and healthy enough to bring a new life into the world.

Source: Centers for Disease Control, WebMD, Mayo Clinic, MedlinePlus, Healthline

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