19 answers

Postpartum Weight Gain / Baby Blues - Help

Hi mama and mamas to be. I want to start by saying that I have 3 healthy beautiful children and I am so grateful to have been so blessed in life. That said, I feel like I am going crazy. I am no spring chicken and at 38 just had a wonderful little boy who is almost 3 months old. (I also have two daughters ages 11 and 18). I exercise daily and try to eat healthy, but since about 8 weeks postpartum I have been feeling very "off"/"hormonal". I didn't gain much weight with this pregnancy and was lucky enough to shed all the weight I'd gained within a week of giving birth. I returned to work full time when he was eight weeks (a month ago) and since that time I have gained 10 pounds. I have gained 4 inches around my waist seemingly overnight. I don't know what is causing this, but I have become so obsessed with losing the weight that it's affecting every aspect of my life. It seems the scale determines not only my mood each day, but how I feel about myself. It's having a very destructive effect on my life and family because I get so depressed that everyone around me is impacted by it. Here are some of my questions: Has anyone ever experienced extremely rapid weight gain AFTER giving birth-specifically between 8 and 12 weeks postpartum? Could it be because of my age? I am really freaked out by this because I am already cutting out sweets and bad foods and there isn't enough hours in the day for me to work out more. To make matters worse, I feel guilty for working out in the eves after being away from my son all day, especially when I am gaining more weight. I am not sure whether I need a nutritionist or a psychologist, but I need help fast. It may seem petty but almost overnight it has made me feel like a stranger in my own body. I feel like I am losing my mind.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Been there! (Sorta...)

Right after I had my son the weight just flew off and I felt great! Around 8 - 12 weeks I gained at least 10 pounds again (I stopped weighing once I got to +10) and felt devastated because nothing had changed with my diet and I WAS exercising (like you, after being at work and away from baby). What kicked me back into gear was seeing a dietitian for some really great meal planning ideas for healthy weight loss and I cancelled my gym membership and bought a jogging stroller that my son loved! And I loved not feeling guilty for being away any more than I already was! For awhile I was feeling hopeless and overwhelmed after feeling so great about having my body back so soon... but after realizing that that instant gratification weight loss was not realistic and as I began to focus on my health and enjoy guilt free work outs with my son, my mood improved and my depression was lifted. Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful

More Answers

Have you taken a pregnancy test to see if you could possibly be pregnant again?

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Have you had your thyroid checked? Have you spoken with your doctor? If your thyroid is off, it throws everything off and, if you're hypothyroid, slows your system so that you will gain weight. I'd suggest going to your doctor and having some bloodwork. That way, you'll know if there is a metabolic reason for your weight gain. You might also get a referral for a therapist. It sounds like it's your concern about the weight as much as the weight itself that is bothering you and that's something that a therapist could help you with. Good luck!

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Hi J.,

I've been through this too. I was doing boot camp & still could not lose the weight but gained 10 lbs over the course of 1 year. And it was NOT muscle! So sick of hearing that excuse! It very well could be your hormones & I'm going to give you a few resources to start learning about it. You need to educate yourself & be prepared because not all doctors are understand or "believe" in hormone imbalance or they are quick to suggest synthetic hormones or an antidepressant.

I was tested for many of the things other moms mentioned including hormones. But my primary, my OB/GYN and the Endocrinologist blew off the fact that my progesterone was "a little low". And that was from blood tests. The World Health Organization recognizes saliva testing as the most accurate way to measure hormone levels. Some of the hormones in your blood are attached to proteins & cannot be used by your body. The blood tests cannot measure these separately but a saliva test only measures the "free hormones". Many women are told their hormone levels are "normal" based on blood tests which makes us feel - it must be in my head. Not necessarily true! Oh & "normal" is actually the average levels for women in the US - which may or may not be "normal" for you. Over 50% of women over the age of 35 in the US have to much estrogen (not enough progesterone) due to our environment, products we're using, etc.

This is just the tip of the iceburg on this subject. Here's where you can learn more:

www.drjohnlee.com Dr. Lee was the pioneer in this field. If you are able to squeeze in some reading, his book "What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About PREmenopause" is excellent. If you are local, I can also lend you a cd with a 1 hour lecture by him that is awesome. I have a hard time staying awake to read but I can listen to a cd while I'm running errands.

Hormone Balance: A Matter of Life and Health by Kristine Klitzke is another good book written by an R.N.

Even The Biggest Loser trainer, Jillian Michaels just wrote a book on this topic called Master Your Metabolism. She is far from an expert or a doctor but I think she carries a lot of credibility when it comes to weight loss. She has only discovered this "missing piece" to maintaining a healthy weight the last few years.

And my favorite "diet" is by Dee McCaffrey www.plandee.org She is an organic chemist who lost 100 lbs 17 years ago & has maintained it. So far I haven't read anything about hormones in her book but her eating plan is all about eliminating processed foods from your diet which is a huge part of what is messing up our hormones to begin with. When she explains how your body reacts chemically to certain foods - it makes complete sense!

As for me, I used bio-identical progesterone cream (not synthetic!) to get back into balance. I'm gradually incorporating Dee's eating plan into my whole family's diet because it's extremely important to me to raise them with the best eating habits possible which equals best health. I plan to ease off the cream as I reduce the sources of excess hormones & reset my metabolism. And I have lost 20 lbs, sleep better, feel better, handle stress better, etc. My doctor is skeptical but monitoring my hormones & progress with me. I suppose I could have switched doctors but maybe through my experience, he'll be more open to the next woman with these symptoms - I can hope!

I know this is long - there's so much great info to share - I hope it was helpful!

2 moms found this helpful

Hi J., You sound very upset, and i feel for you. I had my two and only kids at 38 and 39 1/2. The second one in particular was really hard to shed the weight....it took me 4 years.
First of all, slow down. Please be patient with yourself and give yourself some slack. It could possibly be that you are eating more to compensate for the obsessive exercise. I am a group ex instructor, and that was my problem. i found Weight Watchers to be a very successful program, as it helped me to figure out portion control, and what I was doing wrong.
I would recommend that, and a visit to your primary care doctor, as you may have some hormone control issues that could be corrected. Good luck and take care

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I gained a bunch of weight about the same time as you because of a combination of hormones, postpartum depression and overeating slightly. Once I focused on only eating 1600 calories each day (4 meals of 400) calories, and I was put on the mini-pill, and I started taking Welbutrin XL my weight gain went away. I also exercised regularly. The thing that made the biggest impact was a food journal where I kept track of my caloric intake. I ended up weighing less than I did before I got pregnant and I was in excellent shape. Good luck. The thing about Welbutrin XL is that it is a very mild antidepressant and it can actually help you lose weight. The minipill doesn't have such a strong weightgain side effect. Anyway, this worked for me when I was having struggles like yours. Good luck.

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J., First you are not losing your mind, you are a mom. It's a little known fact that they look very similar.
Second from what you said here I agree, you need someone to help you figure it out. Who that is up to you. PLEASE use education not medication.

I am a family wellness coach and I will tell you what I know.
1. You are 38, and you just had a baby, only 3 months ago. Give yourself a break.
2. If you are breastfeeding, you should not be working out so much right now.
3. Your main concern is you and your baby, feed your body and nourish it so that you can get your strength back. Baby's too if you are BFing
4. THROW AWAY THE SCALE
5. Weight gain after pregnancy is possible, not likely but possible, especially if you are working out and building muscle AND being obsessed by it...what you focus on expands. It has nothing to do with your age.
6. What other (foods) are you cutting out from your day? Send me a food log for 5 days, let me see what you are doing. Write down EVERYTHING you put in your mouth. (____@____.com)
7. THROW AWAY THE SCALE.
8. Finally and most important, what is more important...spending time with your son or losing a few pounds?

J., you have an entire lifetime to be in that body, but right here, right now is the only time you will have with this child at this age. It is up to you how you spend that time.

Please take 11 mins and watch this video: http://liveitdontdiet.isagenix.com/us/en/areyoutoxic.dhtml. I can help you with the weight gain. Only you can help you with leaving your son.

B. H., B.A:B.Ed.
Family Success Coach
____@____.com

2 moms found this helpful

Been there! (Sorta...)

Right after I had my son the weight just flew off and I felt great! Around 8 - 12 weeks I gained at least 10 pounds again (I stopped weighing once I got to +10) and felt devastated because nothing had changed with my diet and I WAS exercising (like you, after being at work and away from baby). What kicked me back into gear was seeing a dietitian for some really great meal planning ideas for healthy weight loss and I cancelled my gym membership and bought a jogging stroller that my son loved! And I loved not feeling guilty for being away any more than I already was! For awhile I was feeling hopeless and overwhelmed after feeling so great about having my body back so soon... but after realizing that that instant gratification weight loss was not realistic and as I began to focus on my health and enjoy guilt free work outs with my son, my mood improved and my depression was lifted. Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful

I gained 20 lbs in less than a month. Hormones are probably to blame for the weight and the mood changes. I had ppd but once I stopped breastfeeding my depression took itself to another level. I was losing my mind! I suffer from clinical depression but I have never had an episode like I did postpartum. To make it worse the meds I take for my depression cause me to gain weight. They put me back on birth control pills to try to regulate my hormones which did work but also added a few more pounds! So now I'm not crazy but I am overweight for the first time in my life! I have cut out soda for Lent (which started Wednesday) and actually lost 1 lb. By the time Easter gets here I'm going to be a lean mean sexy machine...or at least that's what i tell myself! Have your hormones checked. Talk with your doc about a temporary anti-depressant that you can use for a few months to help your mood. Many people eat when they feel down. What you've got is totally normal for people who have babies in their 30s. There are already hormones freaking out and changing without a pregnancy, so tossing in the mother of all hormonal experiences makes your body say WHAT!!!

2 moms found this helpful

You're not losing your mind, hormones can do crazy, crazy things to your body! I had this same problem after my daughter was born, but didn't realize it might be something physical until she was almost 2. I have a thyroid problem and am now being treated with thyroid meds. It could be something simple like that or a hormone imbalance, so I would say ask your doc but don't stress too much. Good luck, I'm sure it's a temporary thing and your doc will be able to help.

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I highly suggest you check out this website: sparkpeople.com

It is just awesome. I'm tracking what I eat, making better food choices, eating better portions, exercising more and losing weight! 14 pounds since the first of the year.

There are blogs and support groups to. So I'm sure you can find what you're looking for!

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Please go to the doctor and discuss not only the concerns about weight but also the way you are feeling. You are pushing yourself very hard with full time work and also working out at night, plus taking care of 3 kids during the witching hour in between, that's a LOT. Take care of your mind first and your body will follow.

2 moms found this helpful

My thoughts are the same as everyone else's. Please make an appointment with your doctor. It could be thyroid, it could be Cushings, etc. It's not something you should have interrupt your life.

Stress has a serious effect on our hormones, in general (cortisol levels, etc). So, you may need to really get a good work-up.

Unfortunately, your age will have an effect on your metabolic rates, but if you were able to lose the weight initially, it wouldn't make sense for you to gain the weight after returning to work.

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Could you have developed diabetes? Talk to your doctor about ALL your symptoms. Keep a journal of your excercise and your meals. That will give Dr. something to look at. Are you breastfeeding? Perhaps a visit/referral to an Endocrinologist (hormones) is in order. Maybe your thyroid is going wacky now that you're done being pregnant. I just read a very interesting article in Natural Solutions magazine about how thyroid conditions go undetected all the time. If the first test or 2 come back normal, insist on further tests, including other parts of the body that control hormones (pituitary gland, ovaries). Best of luck to you. I hope this is resolved soon. In the meantime, perhaps you can talk to your doctor about a mild anti-depressant.

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i'm 45..have one child he is just about to be 4..i workout also..and won America's Hottest Rocker mom last june but am like 10 lbs heavier than i was back then..still fit my skinny jeans but they do fell tighter..as u approach your 40's you need to eat more proteins..and u need to mix your workouts up..do u do different workouts or do u do the same ones? are u breastfeeding? sometimes the body will store fat to help with bfing..
if you aren't bfing..u should try activit by P90X also Resveratrol...its best to workout throughout the day..that's what i used to be able to do..i would run pushing my son in the stroller..then while he napped i'd do about 20 minutes of abs & arms..then later i would work out for an hour..
but i'm over all that..forget it..now i just go to the gym..spin..and take different classes..and i run 2 x's a week 3 miles and i do 300 stairs..spin really helps drop pounds..but a lot of it could be water weight..have u checked to see if you're pregnant? I go to Equinox...they have great instructors and they have a daycare that is great..
i think cardio is key...don't be too hard on yourself..Keli Roberts is a trainer at Equinox and she says not to pay too much attention to the scale its how u fit your clothes. Also make dinner your lightest meal..and i drink water with lemon at night..if you drink wine drink a dry cab..but lay off alcohol ..and all dairy...but if you're still bfing..don't worry about it so much..you will get back in shape..38 is still young..at 45 my body is better now than when i was younger..i learned how to workout that is more affective..also make sure you're getting a lot of sleep...sleep helps too..and start the day with ice cold water..that speeds up the metabolism..good luck xo

dd

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I, too, strongly suggest that you talk with your doctor. An Ob/gyn is the most logical one to see. It is most likely the hormone imbalance that is causing both the weight gain and your intense feelings surrounding it. I'd consider taking an anti-depressant/anti-anxiety medication to get you thru this period.

I'd also recommend finding something fun to do; something you enjoy and which will get you away from obsessing about your weight. Also look into exercising with your baby. Our local TV station told about a specific program available her in Portland, OR that combines lifting baby with the exercise. See if you can find one there.

Ten pounds is really not much when you consider all that your body has been thru and all that you're facing now. I've never been pregnant but I've gained that much in a couple of months without even realizing it until my jeans were so tight they were uncomfortable. As Saundra said, it'll come off.

I'm 67. My body didn't start holding onto the pounds until around 10 years ago. You're still young and you'll feel better with some help from your doctor.

In my thoughts, the emotions you're feeling around this weight gain is the worrisome thing. Sounds like postpartum depression to me. See your doctor. You deserve to feel good!

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Please see your doctor - postpartum thyroid problems are common and could be the cause of your feelings and your weight gain...I think you sound mentally and physically exhuasted and guilting yourself out is making it worse. Stress can cause weight gain as well. But don't discount normal hormonal changes of the postpartum period - then being close to 40 - hormonal changes in general...

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Hello, My weight gain experience was not related to having a child. My kids were all grown when I suddenly kept gaining weight for no apparent reason. I was eating very little. Then I had sudden water retention in my hands and feet. I went to the doctor who did a blood test and it turned out that I have thyroid disease. I am not saying that is your problem, but I would have it checked out. It is easy to diagnose and easy to treat with medication. I also joined Weight Watchers. It taught me about portions and eating small amounts several times a day. I lost 85 pounds between the thyroid medicine and Weight Watchers. I have kept it off for about three years now. I weigh myself daily (I also have heart disease), to watch for any changes. I have stayed withing two pounds of gain or loss the whole time.
Good luck with your precious family.
K. K.

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Yes! I am 43 and lost most of my weight gain (gained over 40 during pregnancy) and lost 25 lbs in the first 5 weeks naturally without much effort and no exercise. At that point I hit a wall, had to join Weight Watchers and lost a few more pounds but suddenly started blowing up and gaining much of it back. I went from 125 before pregnancy to about 160 on the day of giving birth and back down to 135 quickly in 5 weeks. I then started gaining and ended up back at 149 in about 2 months once I returned to work. I started going to a gym and got down to 137 after a few months of running on a treadmill and then started strict dieting (and even fasting) and dropped to 129. That was in July 09 and my son was already 14 months old at that point, so you see..it's been a rollercoaster and I've never gotten back to normal weight. I now weigh 146, which I gained since July 09. It's terrible. My issue is 100% psychological from being in a bad relationship with my son's father and I'm pretty much neglected and invisible in this house (we live separate lives since our son was born, other than raising our son). I don't know if this is your situation but those things can be mental. I was always 118 for about 25 years prior to dating him which was 2 years before getting pregnant and then it started even before my son's birth.

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See both and soon you will be so much better when youd good luck A. no hills

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