Fact checked Before we hit “publish,” our science team needs to be 100% satisfied that we’re giving solid advice based on high-quality, reliable, scientifically-sound research.
Editorial guidelines At Simple, we use our nutrition and wellness expertise to give you actionable content that helps you achieve your goals, overcome challenges, and increase your well-being.

    If you’ve just given birth, you don’t need us to remind you that you and your body have been through a journey together recently. 

    As beautiful as that journey is, we get that you may be ready to get your body back to where it was in the first place. Maybe that means regular exercise. Maybe it means resuming a certain eating routine. Maybe it simply means being able to wear your favorite pair of jeans again.

    Postpartum and ready to reconnect with your body? Maybe that means getting back into an exercise routine or starting a new eating routine. Whatever it is, we’ve got you covered on this postpartum wellness journey.

    Whatever your destination, losing weight postpartum is a very individual experience — just like pregnancy itself!

    While there may not be one universal path to postpartum weight loss, here’s everything you need to know about how to lose weight after pregnancy and get yourself on track to your goals. 

    Key takeaways

    • Weight gain during pregnancy extends beyond the little one itself, so weight loss after pregnancy isn’t immediate after birth. 
    • The best way to lose weight after having a baby is gradually — a pound or two per week is a good safety benchmark. 
    • How to lose weight postpartum — and how quickly you lose it — depends on lots of individual factors, but some general postpartum weight loss tips include things like minimizing stress, setting realistic goals, staying hydrated, and experimenting with light exercise.
    • If you’re currently breastfeeding, we recommend staying off the weight loss train for now and focusing on following an eating routine that provides all the nutrition and energy you and your baby need.
    • Your body has just been through a heck of a lot, so it’s extra important to check in with your doctor before making any changes to your lifestyle or eating habits, especially if you’re experiencing any rapid weight loss. 

    Weight gain during pregnancy 

    The first step in understanding how to lose postpartum weight is understanding that “baby weight” isn’t actually just the baby itself. 

    In addition to the baby’s weight, you gain extra pounds during pregnancy from:[1] 

    • the placenta
    • amniotic fluid
    • an enlarged uterus
    • increased fat, fluids, blood, and breast tissue

    All of these factors combined lead to an average weight gain during pregnancy of anywhere from 15 to 40 lbs (roughly 6–18 kg).[2]

    But if you’ve ever been to a prenatal group, received advice from another new parent, or tried on clothing anywhere at any time, you’re probably very aware that different bodies have different needs and experiences. So where you fall on that spectrum — if you’re even within its bounds — isn’t something that can be predicted or controlled. However, your starting weight can determine more or less what is a safe amount of weight to gain throughout pregnancy.[3,4] 

    Your body after childbirth

    Postpartum is about embracing our body’s unique path. While averages provide a guideline, cherishing the journey with your newborn is key.

    Childbirth is natural, but — if watching Animal Planet is any indication — nature isn’t always all kumbaya, and giving birth isn’t easy on your body. 

    After your newborn bundle of joy and sleepless nights arrives, you may experience pain, discharge, swelling, appetite changes, and other side effects. New moms and parents are also bound to feel tired — your body has just gone through probably the most labor-intensive (pun intended) experience of your life — and it’s going to be a while before you can get some good quality rest and remember what having energy feels like. 

    So, it’s important to give yourself time to recover and heal before you even think about losing weight after the baby arrives. Eventually, these side effects will disappear, and your life-giving body deserves all the compassion and care throughout the process. If these side effects don’t resolve, are concerning you, or become unbearable to live with, speak with your healthcare provider.

    When the side effects do eventually resolve — and after you’ve checked in with your primary care provider to make sure it’s safe to start aiming for weight loss — we’re here to be part of your support squad. Take our Simple quiz for a spin to get personalized tips on burning fat and losing weight safely, effectively, and sustainably. 

    How much weight do you lose after giving birth?

    Trying to predict how much weight is lost after birth is like trying to predict how much your baby will sleep on any given night: Sure, you can factor in averages, but no amount of calculations or preparations can guarantee a certain outcome. 

    The average weight loss after birth varies. One study found that within three months after giving birth, 20% of women return to their pre-pregnancy weight, and within one year, 24% of women retain at least 10 lb (4.5 kg).[5] But the concept of “normal” weight loss after birth is just a benchmark — it’s not a guaranteed figure for how much weight loss after birth you will experience, nor a surefire way to measure how much weight you lose naturally after giving birth.

    How long does it take to lose weight after pregnancy?

    Similarly, trying to answer “How long does it take to lose baby weight?” is like trying to predict how long it takes to sleep train your baby: There may be some general guidelines, but everyone develops at their own speed and has their own process. 

    And it may involve a lot of teeth gritting as well as determination and careful pacing. 

    On average, people lose around half of their pregnancy weight in the first couple months after delivery.[5] Then, it may take 6–12 months to return to pre-pregnancy weight (or more, and that’s okay!). 

    But a range of conditions and individual circumstances (from starting weight and preexisting conditions to lifestyle and eating habits) can affect your weight loss journey.

    Losing weight after pregnancy isn’t necessarily a one-way street, either, and your body may have a different track in mind when it comes to answering “How long to lose pregnancy weight?” It’s helpful to have a plan, but don’t expect to stick to that route rigidly. 

    The most important thing to remember when trying to estimate your personal “how long to lose baby weight” path to your goals is that you should always steer toward gradual weight loss. Slow and steady is the only way to get there; it’s unsafe — not to mention unsustainable — to lose more than a pound or two per week. 

    Effective tips on losing weight after pregnancy

    Being a new mom comes with its challenges but with the right support – like friends who share the path – postpartum weight loss becomes more manageable.

    While losing pregnancy weight is important since postpartum weight retention can be a predictor of obesity (which can cause a slew of health complications),[6,7] losing weight after a baby safely and effectively means approaching the process with caution and compassion.

    Remember: You just went through a superhero-level transformation to bring another human into this world! There are fundamental changes to your body that might mean new challenges, expectations, and parameters to adjust to and account for, and you should only start charting your course after you’ve gotten medical approval. 

    These three factors (being careful, practicing self-compassion, and consulting your primary care provider) are the only aspect of navigating the “how to lose weight after a baby” question that applies to everybody.

    With that in mind, here are some of our top tips for safe, effective, and lasting post-pregnancy weight loss. 


    Breastfeeding has been linked to various health benefits for both the parent and the baby,[8] and some studies have linked breastfeeding to postpartum weight loss.[9] 

    It’s important to remember that breastfeeding burns an additional 300 to 500 calories per day,[10] and it’s not about creating a calorie deficit to promote weight loss. People who are breastfeeding need additional calories and nutrients to support both milk production and quality breast milk, so you need to replenish those lost calories during breastfeeding; it’s not safe to burn more calories than you eat as a path toward weight loss.

    If you’re breastfeeding, focus instead on getting all the nutritional support your powerful body needs to fuel both itself and your baby. And if you’re not breastfeeding, don’t worry — it’s not essential to your postpartum weight loss.  

    Stay hydrated

    Water is vital to your health and bodily functions, especially when you’ve just been through something as taxing as childbirth. Plus, hydration can help with weight loss and help you feel full for longer.[11] 

    If you’re getting sick of plain water, you can try adding fruit slices, herbs / spices, or a splash of juice for a flavor boost.

    Recharge your batteries

    The idea of sleep, when you have a newborn, may seem about as elusive as a diaper that doesn’t leak or a top that doesn’t have a mysterious stain on it, but rest is essential for your body to heal, and it plays a role in weight loss (not to mention general mental and physical health [12,13]).[14] Some studies also show an association specifically between more sleep and more postpartum weight loss.[15]  

    Even if it’s hard to come by, carving out time for a nap or training yourself to sleep when your baby is sleeping will go a long way in supporting your body in all its efforts, weight loss goals included. 

    Minimize stress

    Unless you have a fairy godparent, magical powers, or some other supernatural ability to regulate emotions / environments, it’s unlikely you can completely avoid stress when you have a newborn, but anything you can do to limit it will help weight loss goals since stress has been linked to postpartum weight retention.[16] 

    Stress isn’t great for your body or well-being in general, so finding ways to build in stress management exercises like deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or guided visualization can make a big difference to your health overall.[17] Like skincare, self-care doesn’t have to be elaborate and daily to have an impact, either — it’s just about finding a ritual that works for you so you can stick to it and keep releasing steam from that stress pressure cooker. Remember to speak with your healthcare provider, who will be able to assist you in managing stress and any other mental health changes you may experience. 

    Avoid crash dieting

    We know when you’re running on empty (and maybe a touch of desperation … ) that the temptation to try one of those “get ripped quick” schemes can be pretty loud, but resist the siren call! Safe and sustainable weight loss postpartum will never be quick, and crash diets often compromise your well-being by limiting valuable nutritional fuel — which is super important for your body’s recovery and achieving lasting results. It also impacts your infant’s health, so it’s not worth it.

    Instead of creating extra pressure / hurdles or subjecting your body to unsafe conditions, a healthy, balanced diet tailored to your specific needs and preferences sets a gradual trajectory toward your weight loss goals. If you are deeply concerned about your weight, remember that your healthcare provider is also there to assist you.

    Make a plan and set realistic goals 

    Creating that health-promoting and weight-loss-fulfilling eating routine starts with a plan. Specifically, a meal plan. 

    Nutrient-dense foods like fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, lean protein, dairy (or calcium-fortified, dairy-free foods), and healthy snacks like nuts and seeds help not only meet your nutritional needs but also satiate hunger and manage blood sugar. 

    Now is likely not the time to be extra strict with limitations — you’re going through a ton of life changes all at once! — but limiting foods high in refined carbs or trans / saturated fats is also useful in appetite and weight management. 

    When you’re already juggling so much, we get that the last thing you want to do is sit down and make even more decisions about how to build a meal plan that supports your weight loss goals, so we’re here to do that for you. Just take our Simple quiz to get started.  

    Try intermittent fasting

    Intermittent fasting offers a gentle approach, especially for new moms. As you relish moments like enjoying a taco al fresco, it’s essential to remember it’s all about balance and timing.

    Intermittent fasting — an eating routine where you eat within a specific timeframe and fast for the rest of the day — has also been linked to weight loss, weight maintenance, and reduced belly fat.[18,19,20]  

    Intermittent fasting affects biological men and women differently, so intermittent fasting for women involves a gentler approach, particularly post-pregnancy. We recommend starting with either 12-hour fasting or 14:10 intermittent fasting rather than jumping into longer fasting windows, but since your body may still be in recovery, it’s a good idea to discuss your plans with your doctor before doing any trial runs. We also don’t encourage one-meal-a-day (OMAD) fasts, water fasts, or all-day fasts, as they’re harder on you and there’s no evidence to show any additional benefits.

    Experiment with light exercise

    Physical activity is beneficial not only for weight loss but also for overall physical and mental health.[21] You can also exercise while fasting, too, if you want to double up on weight loss strategies. 

    While exercise can help you meet your weight loss goals, you’ll need to be extra careful not to overdo it and customize the type, duration, and intensity levels to your body’s needs — and that means your body now, not what you were used to pre-pregnancy. Likewise, if you had a C-section or experienced tearing during delivery, you’ll need longer to recover before jumping back into exercise. 

    In general, we recommend low-impact, gentle exercises like walking, lightweight arm lifts, or pelvic floor strengthening exercises, but you and your healthcare provider should work together to form an action plan before you start experimenting. They’ll also be able to give you a good idea of what’s too much and what to look out for so you can avoid pushing yourself too far and delaying your body’s recovery. 

    When to consult your doctor

    When it comes to supporting your body and your well-being after pregnancy, there’s no such thing as being too cautious. We always recommend consulting your healthcare professional as you adjust to your post-pregnancy life — most gynecologists also recommend regular postpartum check-ups even without a specific purpose — but you should definitely contact your doctor if you: 

    • are planning for how to lose weight after having a baby;
    • experience rapid weight loss after pregnancy; 
    • experiment with exercise and have any pain / bleeding;
    • are considering making any changes to your lifestyle or eating habits; and/or
    • have any questions or concerns at all. 

    Asking for help is a strength and never something to feel bad about!

    Simple’s expert opinion and final thoughts

    If you’ve caught yourself glancing at pregnancy magazines, examining postpartum celebrities on the red carpet, or comparing your progress to that of your other parent friends, you’re definitely not alone, but how to lose pregnancy weight isn’t a puzzle you can solve by looking externally. Only your body knows the exact answer to “How much weight will I lose after birth?” and your experience with weight loss post-pregnancy will be a unique one.

    Just because you’re at the helm doesn’t mean you have to — or should! — go on that journey alone, though. Finding a weight loss method that is safe and sustainable for your body means working with your healthcare team to figure out what lifestyle factors, exercise regimens, and/or eating routine set-ups will work best in supporting your health, well-being, and goals. 

    You can also bring us on board to help you find the best weight loss program for your needs (especially if you’re going to try exercise or intermittent fasting!). Take our Simple quiz so we can start by getting to know you, and then we’ll give you some ideas to review with your doctor. 

    Frequently asked questions about losing weight postpartum 

    It’s so hard to lose weight after having a baby because your body is in major recovery mode. You’re a tough cookie, but before you start focusing on how to lose weight after giving birth, it’s important to give yourself time to heal and ensure you’re getting all the nutrients and calories you need. 

    There’s no such thing as “normal” when it comes to questions like “Is it normal to lose a lot of weight postpartum?” As far as averages go, many people experience 10 lb (4.5 kg) of weight loss after delivery,[5] but how much and how quickly they lose weight after that depends on lots of factors. 

    How much weight you lose after a C-section will be roughly the same as the weight you lose after a vaginal birth, but keep in mind that a C-section is a major abdominal surgery, so you may experience additional temporary bloating from air and fluids moving around. 
    While there’s not much benefit to wearing one after four months postpartum, it’s never technically too late to wear a postpartum belly wrap. These wraps may help in getting your abdominal muscles back to where they were pre-pregnancy, but more importantly, they may help in reducing pain and providing support for your recovery. There’s limited risk involved, but it’s still good to run the concept by your doctor first. 

    Like postpartum weight loss, tightening your skin after pregnancy is a slow process, but it will happen after some number of weeks or months. Once your healthcare provider says it’s okay, light exercise may help, but in the meantime, staying hydrated and using certain skincare products may help improve skin elasticity.

    1. Dolatian M, Sharifi N, Mahmoodi Z, Fathnezhad-Kazemi A, Bahrami-Vazir E, Rashidian T. Weight gain during pregnancy and its associated factors: A Path analysis. Nurs Open. 2020 Sep;7(5):1568–77.
    2. National Research Council, Institute of Medicine, Board on Children, Youth, and Families, Food and Nutrition Board, Committee to Reexamine IOM Pregnancy Weight Guidelines. Weight Gain During Pregnancy: Reexamining the Guidelines. National Academies Press; 2010. 868 p.
    3. CDC. Weight gain during pregnancy [Internet]. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. 2022 June 22.
    4. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Weight gain during pregnancy [Internet]. 2023.
    5. McKinley MC, Allen-Walker V, McGirr C, Rooney C, Woodside JV. Weight loss after pregnancy: challenges and opportunities. Nutr Res Rev. 2018 Dec;31(2):225–38.
    6. Makama M, Skouteris H, Moran LJ, Lim S. Reducing Postpartum Weight Retention: A Review of the Implementation Challenges of Postpartum Lifestyle Interventions. J Clin Med Res [Internet]. 2021 Apr 27;10(9).
    7. Pi-Sunyer X. The medical risks of obesity. Postgrad Med. 2009 Nov;121(6):21–33.
    8. Sen S. Breast Milk and Breastfeeding: Benefits, Barriers, Maternal Predictors, and Opportunities for Innovation. Clin Ther. 2022 Feb;44(2):170–1.
    9. Lambrinou CP, Karaglani E, Manios Y. Breastfeeding and postpartum weight loss. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2019 Nov;22(6):413–7.
    10. CDC. Maternal diet [Internet]. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2023.
    11. Thornton SN. Increased Hydration Can Be Associated with Weight Loss. Front Nutr. 2016 Jun 10;3:18.
    12. Scott AJ, Webb TL, Martyn-St James M, Rowse G, Weich S. Improving sleep quality leads to better mental health: A meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Sleep Med Rev. 2021 Dec;60:101556.
    13. Clement-Carbonell V, Portilla-Tamarit I, Rubio-Aparicio M, Madrid-Valero JJ. Sleep Quality, Mental and Physical Health: A Differential Relationship. Int J Environ Res Public Health [Internet]. 2021 Jan 8;18(2).
    14. Patel SR, Hu FB. Short sleep duration and weight gain: a systematic review. Obesity . 2008 Mar;16(3):643–53.
    15. Xiao RS, Kroll-Desrosiers AR, Goldberg RJ, Pagoto SL, Person SD, Waring ME. The impact of sleep, stress, and depression on postpartum weight retention: a systematic review. J Psychosom Res. 2014 Nov;77(5):351–8.
    16. Bazzazian S, Riazi H, Vafa M, Mahmoodi Z, Nasiri M, Mokhtaryan-Gilani T, et al. The relationship between depression, stress, anxiety, and postpartum weight retention: A systematic review. J Educ Health Promot. 2021 Jun 30;10:230.
    17. Fitelson E, Kim S, Baker AS, Leight K. Treatment of postpartum depression: clinical, psychological and pharmacological options. Int J Womens Health. 2010 Dec 30;3:1–14.
    18. Varady KA, Cienfuegos S, Ezpeleta M, Gabel K. Clinical application of intermittent fasting for weight loss: progress and future directions. Nat Rev Endocrinol. 2022 May;18(5):309–21.
    19. Ganesan K, Habboush Y, Sultan S. Intermittent Fasting: The Choice for a Healthier Lifestyle. Cureus. 2018 Jul 9;10(7):e2947.
    20. Yang F, Liu C, Liu X, Pan X, Li X, Tian L, et al. Effect of Epidemic Intermittent Fasting on Cardiometabolic Risk Factors: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Front Nutr. 2021 Oct 18;8:669325.
    21. Ruegsegger GN, Booth FW. Health Benefits of Exercise. Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med [Internet]. 2018 Jul 2;8(7).