Women who have just given birth should not worry about getting their bodies back into shape immediately, a leading Germany health insurer said.
"A woman's body has enough to do after a baby arrives," said Waltraud Pfarrer, listing milk production and hormonal adjustment as examples.
New mothers also have to reckon with fatigue because babies typically wake in the night to nurse, added Pfarrer of the insurer DAK in Hamburg. And nursing a child requires an average of an additional 600 calories a day.
Mothers of newborns should not skip meals, and they should strive to eat a balanced diet. Pfarrer recommends eating adequate amounts of fruit, vegetables, whole grains and milk products daily. Over time, extra pounds gained during pregnancy will be lost, if such a diet is followed.
"In most women, it takes a good year until the weight and hormones are back to normal," Pfarrer said.