Need to talk? Call 1800 882 436.
It's a free call with a maternal child health nurse. *call charges may apply from your mobile

Is it an emergency? Dial 000
If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately.

beginning of content

Losing weight after birth safely

4-minute read

When is it safe to start losing weight?

After having a baby, you might be exhausted or feel there's no time for healthy eating and exercise. It's good to try to look after yourself anyway; enjoying a healthy lifestyle with gradual weight loss is best.

Before getting pregnant, losing excess weight can reduce possible risks to your pregnancy.

However, once you are pregnant, restricting your diet is not recommended since it could affect your baby. Rather than trying to lose weight, focus on gaining only the recommended amount during pregnancy. This varies based on what you weighed before.

It is good to have a healthy diet before, during and after pregnancy.

You can start exercising gently within days of giving birth, unless you had a complicated birth or a caesarean section. If you’re unsure, it's best to check with your doctor first.

How do I set realistic weight loss goals?

Reaching a healthy weight after pregnancy reduces your risks in future pregnancies as well as improving your long-term health.

By eating wisely and exercising gently, you might lose 500g each week. This may not sound like much, but be patient. The most important thing is to take care of yourself with good food and exercise. It might take 6 months or more to get back to your pre-pregnancy weight.

Crash or fad diets aren’t suitable during pregnancy or breastfeeding, as they don’t contain all the nutrients you and your baby need.

Your body might look different after having children. Some women become frustrated and wonder how to lose belly fat. But whether you lose weight or not, enjoy a healthy lifestyle and be proud of what your body has achieved.

Can breastfeeding aftect weight loss?

Gradual weight loss of 500g per week, is all right while breastfeeding. Losing weight more rapidly through dieting might mean you don’t pass on enough nutrients to your baby.

Breastfeeding is not only best for your baby, it can help you lose weight gained during pregnancy because your body uses fat stores and energy to nourish your baby. You might find you don’t lose weight until you have stopped breastfeeding. However, overall, women who breastfeed their babies for at least the first few months tend to lose the weight they gained during pregnancy faster than women who do not breastfeed.

Breastfeeding can make you hungry. Eating extra vegetables, protein and other nutritious choices is best and you should try to avoid processed foods high in fat or sugar. You need to drink plenty of water too.

Tips for losing weight after birth

  • Enjoy a variety of fresh foods, including vegetables, proteins and whole grains.
  • Foods that are high in fibre, such as vegetables, legumes and grains, can help fill you up.
  • Eat smaller portions. Using a smaller plate can help.
  • Sit down and enjoy your meal slowly.
  • If you’re hungry, choose healthy options rather than processed snacks.
  • If you find junk food tempting, try not having it in the house.
  • Allow your body to lose weight gradually.
  • Gradually get back into exercise. Go for a walk with your baby, or to a mums and bubs exercise class.
  • Breastfeeding can help for some women.

When can I go for advice and support?

If you were overweight before your pregnancy, you might need to talk to your doctor about how to lose weight.

A dietitian can give you more tips on how to lose weight, and they can put together a personal eating plan that is nutritious and allows for gradual post-pregnancy weight loss. You can find an accredited practicing dietitian on the Dietitians Australia website.

If you are concerned about your weight, it's a good idea to talk to your doctor.

Speak to a maternal child health nurse

Call Pregnancy, Birth and Baby to speak to a maternal child health nurse on 1800 882 436 or video call. Available 7am to midnight (AET), 7 days a week.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: November 2021

Back To Top

Need more information?

Losing weight while breastfeeding | Australian Breastfeeding Association

Will breastfeeding help me lose weight? Can I lose weight while breastfeeding?

Read more on Australian Breastfeeding Association website

Body image after having a baby

Your body can change in many ways during pregnancy and after you have given birth, but there are ways you can help your body recover and get used to the new you.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

New mums: your body after birth | Raising Children Network

New mums, your body has been through a lot. Here’s all you need to know about vaginal bleeding, afterpains, nipples and breasts, continence and weight.

Read more on website

New mums and dads: healthy lifestyle choices

When you’re a new parent, healthy lifestyle choices like healthy eating and physical activity will keep you in good shape to care for your baby. Get tips.

Read more on website

Why your Weight Matters during Pregnancy

Weight is a very sensitive subject for some women. However, because of the great benefit to you and your baby, it is recommended that you should try to reach a healthy weight before you become pregnant.

Read more on RANZCOG - Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists website

Breastfeeding diet, exercise & lifestyle | Raising Children Network

A healthy breastfeeding diet has a wide variety of foods from the five main food groups. Physical activity is also important for your health and wellbeing.

Read more on website

Call us and speak to a Maternal Child Health Nurse for personal advice and guidance.

Need further advice or guidance from our maternal child health nurses?

Healthdirect Australia acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to the Traditional Owners and to Elders both past and present.

This information is for your general information and use only and is not intended to be used as medical advice and should not be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any medical condition, nor should it be used for therapeutic purposes.

The information is not a substitute for independent professional advice and should not be used as an alternative to professional health care. If you have a particular medical problem, please consult a healthcare professional.

Except as permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, this publication or any part of it may not be reproduced, altered, adapted, stored and/or distributed in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of Healthdirect Australia.