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Baby Fat

04/30/2009 05:00PM ● Published by Super Admin

Pregnancy. It’s bittersweet. When it’s over, lucky new moms are left with the stork’s tiny delivery and oftentimes a not-so-tiny waistline. It can be frustrating, but it is the price paid for the miracle in which they are taking part. The strange thing is that often the daddies involved pack on pounds too!   

Why is this? There are various elements impacting what’s known as “sympathetic weight gain.” And, believe it or not, there’s a similar phenomenon known as couvade syndrome (couvade comes from the French word “couvee,” which means “to hatch”). This syndrome is a condition becoming more common in Western men, where males with expectant partners experience physical symptoms associated with late-stage pregnancy. However, not all men who gain weight can blame couvade syndrome – the explanation is usually much more simple.

First of all, expectant couples are generally less active as the pregnancy progresses. Secondly, since Mama is eating for two, why can’t Papa eat for two also? Whatever the reason, extra weight can be unhealthy, and fortunately there are people out there to give them a hand.

We talked to Noelle Ritter, certified athletic trainer at Roseville Health & Wellness, and Shawna Stinson, a new mother of twin boys, about shedding the baby fat.

Ritter has seen plenty of postpartum couples carrying more weight than they would like, and here are her tips for getting them back into shape.

1. Couples coming in together have much greater rates of success than individuals. “You get a built-in support group when you come to the gym with your significant other! And you have daily accountability to your other half.”  Remember: Mom and Dad are both tired after the baby comes – together they can make the time for 4 a.m. feedings, an exercise regimen and a teeny, tiny bit of sleep.

2. For dads, consider doing pregnant-mother-friendly exercise classes with the mother-to-be. No, water aerobics aren’t as sexy as 120-pound curls, but they are a lot easier on Mama, and they will help manage Papa’s bulge too.

3. Don’t let your new schedule ruin your eating habits! It is really easy when you are up with the new addition, to grab a cookie or a cupcake, or something else that you really should not. Be mindful of what you are eating, and keep healthy snacks available.

Also, it is much easier for someone who is fit before they have a baby to bounce back from pregnancy weight. Stinson is a very fit person in her day-to-day life, so, after she gave birth to her bouncing baby boys, it was much easier for her to get back her pre-pregnancy body. Her main advice is to get in the best possible condition before you have the baby – it makes the pregnancy and the post-pregnancy recovery go much more smoothly.

And eat good quality food. Cindy Swan, lifestyle educator with Center for Functional & Integrative Medicine in Cameron Park, warns too that fad diets rarely result in long-term satisfaction, and for nursing moms, they may not provide adequate nutrition for the baby. Instead, Swan says, “Adopting an eating plan for life will maximize healthy body composition and establish early household patterns that will empower their new family early on.” Swan’s snack tip is to try dipping veggies into hummus or refried beans and salsa in between meals; this wards off hunger and adds healthy fiber to your diet.

Physical activity and nutrition-packed foods do wonders for the spirits of postpartum moms, and it is a great idea for new dads too! Go to the gym together and arrange your diet, and you are both more likely to succeed, together.

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