Your tummy sags, your breasts droop, and your bladder leaks at the worst possible moments — these are the many expected (and frustrating) changes that follow pregnancy and delivery, but there are some less obvious changes you should be aware of.
One is your new metabolism.
Pregnancy and motherhood put you on a physical and emotional rollercoaster, and if you don’t know the facts, the twists and turns can throw you.
That’s where Dr. Christopher Riegel and our team at The Riegel Center come in. We understand how frustrating postpartum is for most women, especially when they can’t pinpoint the problem. So, we’re shedding light on the issue of postpartum metabolism and helping you find the answers and the help you need.
Understanding your metabolism
Your metabolism is the process that turns food into usable energy. If you have a fast metabolism, your body uses most (if not all) of your food as energy, and very little gets stored as fat.
If your metabolism is sluggish, your body doesn’t process your meals well, and you gradually pack on the pounds. Many things can affect your metabolism, from your age to hormonal shifts, and pregnancy poses one of the biggest threats.
Pregnancy, postpartum, and your metabolism
Weight gain, less physical activity, and the influx of hormones during your nine-month pregnancy inevitably mess with your metabolism. During pregnancy, your metabolism speeds up a bit, but once you enter the postpartum stages, it slows down.
One study looked at the metabolic rate of pregnant women and compared it to their metabolic rate postpartum. It found that “absolute resting metabolic rate (RMR) was significantly higher during pregnancy than at 4-6 months postpartum and 12-13 months postpartum.”
Another study found that slower postpartum metabolism is also linked to insulin resistance. Insulin resistance occurs when your cells stop accepting insulin’s attempts to deliver glucose (sugar) as usable energy. The result is sugar-saturated blood and postpartum weight retention.
Most women gain around 20-30 pounds during pregnancy. Approximately 75% of women don’t shed the baby weight and return to their pre-pregnancy weight even one year postpartum — and metabolic changes are usually to blame.
Getting back to normal
It may sound like your body is working against you in your battle to lose baby weight. In some ways, that’s true, but it doesn’t mean you're out of luck. There are ways to safely and naturally change your metabolism and lose weight.
A few effective diet changes, exercise, stress management, sleeping habits, and even supplements can speed up your metabolism, but we recommend addressing the problem at the source — your hormones.
Hormones affect metabolism, insulin resistance, diet, cortisol, activity levels, and weight gain after pregnancy.
We specialize in hormone replacement therapy and bioidentical hormone replacement therapy to help you recover from postpartum hormone imbalances.
Stubborn weight loss isn’t the only sign of a postpartum hormone imbalance. If you notice or experience depression, anxiety, low sex drive, cysts or fibroids, and/or chronic fatigue, see us as soon as possible for an evaluation.
We can check your hormone levels with a simple blood test, hormone questionnaire, and medical history review. Dr. Riegel partners with LabCorp® to gather detailed information about your estrogen, cortisol, and thyroid hormones so he can determine the best treatment.
Few things are more exciting than becoming a mother, but that doesn’t mean you have to put your needs and health on the back burner. We can help you restore balance to your hormones and find a way back to normal. Call or click to schedule a consultation at our Plano, Texas, office today.