(HealthDay)—Gaining too much baby weight is an issue for many pregnant women. What's more, if you don't lose those pounds, they could pose a problem during your next pregnancy, according to a study published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology.
Researchers looked at nearly 8,000 women who had babies two years apart and found that those who didn't get back to their pre-pregnancy weight before they conceived again had more complications during the second pregnancy. These issues ranged from an increased risk for Caesarean sections to gestational diabetes and high blood pressure.
According to the American Public Health Association, being overweight or obese also increases the risk for heart disease and stroke, conditions that can threaten a pregnancy. Labor and delivery problems have also been linked to a woman's body mass index (BMI). Some studies suggest that overweight or obesity may even affect a woman's ability to breast-feed.
To drop the post-pregnancy baby weight, diet and exercise can be a winning combination. Though motherhood can leave you exhausted, re-booting an exercise program will actually give you more stamina as well as help you regain your pre-pregnancy shape.
One tool to use for motivation is a pedometer. A study published in BMC Pregnancy & Childbirth tracked women who used the wearable device to increase their daily steps by 500 per week in stages—first to 5,000 steps per day and then on to 10,000 steps per day. At the end of 12 weeks, they lost weight, lowered their BMI, and took inches off their waist and hips.
Losing weight is never easy. Use your postpartum doctor visits to ask for more advice that will fit into your lifestyle.
Explore further: Weighing too much or too little when pregnant can be risky
The U.S. National Library of Medicine has ideas for losing weight after pregnancy.