A recent study conducted over 10 years by Northwestern Medicine reveals that the 'dad bod' could be more than just a trend: New dads gain around 3.5 to 4.5 pounds.
If you feel the pressure to ditch some weight after D-day, rest assured, Mama, you're not alone. A new study by Northwestern Medicine tracked the weight of more than 10,000 daddies and non-daddies alike, and discovered that the typical new father will gain an average of 3.5 to 4.5 pounds after their baby is born. It looks like the dad bod we all know and (mostly) love, is a real thing! But if he's your hubby, you might be interested to know that this new-daddy weight gain does not include the extra poundage a man is likely to carry if he's married. Guys who are hitched are 25% more likely to be overweight than single people, according to a study from 2014.
How 'dad bod' happens
Researchers suggest a few factors that contribute to your manly man's weight gain. When your bundle of joy arrives, everything gets pushed aside, including personal care. His morning runs are replaced with snuggle-sessions, and the time he once spent pumping iron at the gym, is now replaced with helping you figure out how to work your fancy new breast pump. Over time, kid-foods will start filling the cabinets, and chances are your man may not be able to resist a spoonful of cookie dough ice cream, or the occasional mac 'n cheese bowl-cleanup when your little one refuses to eat.
Why you should care
Unwanted weight gain can really curb your man's confidence, and lower his libido. More importantly, the average 2.6 rise in BMI for dads who lived in the same house as their family means they are sporting a measureable increase in their chances for developing heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. It's this susceptibility to heart disease, specifically, that means men don't often live as long as women, according to a study by the University of Southern California this month. And you want your partner to stay healthy, so he can see out as many milestones with you and your family as possible.
Devise a post-baby weight control plan while you're still pregnant. It may not seem like something that should be hanging out at the top of your to-do list, but if this recent research is anything to go by, maybe it should be.
Take an afternoon with your partner to sit down and discuss how you two will stay healthy. This might include taking weekly walks with your new baby together or meal-prepping while you're still pregnant since it'll be hard to cook fresh dinners with a newborn in hand. If navigating a weight control plan on your own seems daunting, cue some time to chat with your doctor, or, if you can't make the time, ask the family pediatrician at your baby's next appointment. Most importantly, support each other and take the perfection-pressure off. After all, it's that extra papa-pudge your kiddo will be resting his head on after a long day, so embrace it, love it, and whatever you do—don't poke it.