Failing to shed the extra pounds raises your risk for obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. "It can also cause complications for subsequent pregnancies," says Patrick M. Catalano, MD, former chair of obstetrics and gynecology at Case Western Reserve in Cleveland. Being overweight increases your chances for miscarriage, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, and difficulties during labor. And it ups the odds that your baby will become overweight and develop health issues like diabetes in childhood.
Your rehab plan: If you're hoping to have another baby, schedule a preconception health checkup. Your ob-gyn can test your insulin level to determine your risk -- and your infant's -- for developing diabetes. Your doc can also advise you on how to reach your ideal baby-making weight and tell you what is a healthy amount for you to gain during your next pregnancy. Normal-weight women (those with a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9) should gain 25 to 35 pounds; overweight women (a BMI of 25 to 29.9), 15 to 25 pounds; and obese women (a BMI of 30 or above), only 11 to 20 pounds.
As for losing the postpartum pounds, avoid junk food and get back into a routine of regular physical activity. Start by sneaking in small bursts of movement throughout the day. For example, gently dance with your infant, suggests Anita Weil Bell, author of Get Your Body Back. Make time for your own workouts, too.
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