The average woman will drop approximately 10 pounds when she delivers her baby (along with the placenta and amniotic fluid). Unfortunately, the scale may not reflect this right away. Here’s why:
Post-delivery fluid retention. Women can gain up to five pounds of “water” weight after giving birth. “Hormone levels change after delivery and take about six weeks to stabilize,” says Janet Bodley, M.D., an OB-GYN at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto. This causes a change in the distribution of blood and fluid circulating in your body, leading to swelling and weight gain.
Expanding breasts. You will likely experience some degree of engorgement as your breasts begin to fill with milk. “At least two or three extra pounds is common,” says Carrie Warshak, M.D., creator of AskAnOB.com. But don’t fret: Breastfeeding will soon be your biggest weight-loss aid, helping you to burn 500 calories a day.
When the pounds will drop. Fluid retention can last two to three weeks; breast engorgement, two weeks. It can also take up to six weeks for your uterus to shrink back to normal, which accounts for another two pounds. To speed things up, keep your legs elevated while breastfeeding and go for short walks.