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- Losing weight after pregnancy is challenging, but GLP-1 medications can make it easier for new moms to feel like themselves again.
- GLP-1 medications regulate blood sugar, reduce appetite, and support overall health.
- While GLP-1s are generally considered safe for new moms, always talk to your doctor before beginning any new medication or treatment.
Pregnancy and childbirth can take a toll on your body, mind, and emotional well-being. One of the most common challenges new moms face is how to lose weight after pregnancy and reestablish some sense of normalcy. If you’re struggling with postpartum weight loss, a semaglutide or other GLP-1 medication may be worth considering.
GLP-1 stands for glucagon-like peptide-1—a hormone released by the small intestine after eating. GLP-1 helps to regulate appetite, blood sugar levels, and digestion. Most often prescribed to treat type 2 diabetes and obesity, GLP-1 agonist medications (GLP-1s) work by mimicking the effects of this hormone to help reduce appetite, increase feelings of fullness, and slow down the emptying of the stomach.
While GLP-1s may also be helpful for new moms having difficulty losing weight, it's important to consider several important factors before starting a GLP-1 regimen, including when it's safe to start, the impact on breastfeeding, and potential side effects.
Understanding Postpartum Weight Loss Challenges
While many new mothers aspire to regain their pre-pregnancy body, it's common to encounter barriers that make postpartum weight loss difficult to achieve with diet and exercise alone.
You have a new body. The female body undergoes remarkable changes to the uterus, pelvis, breasts, abdominal wall, skin, ligaments, and more to accommodate the growing fetus and support the birthing process. Weight gain is also a natural part of pregnancy, but only 20% of women return to their pre-pregnancy weight within the first three months postpartum, and 24% retain at least 10 pounds one year postpartum.
Your hormones are imbalanced. Estrogen, progesterone, and other hormones drastically fluctuate during and after childbirth, often negatively impacting metabolism and fat storage. But while levels generally normalize within six months postpartum, the effects of pregnancy-related insulin resistance and other hormonal changes can be longer-lasting for some.
Your emotions are heightened. Motherhood is accompanied by a range of emotions—joy, anxiety, exhaustion, and everything in between. Hormonal changes, sleep deprivation, and the challenges of adapting to a new role as a mother can contribute to emotional eating or a decrease in motivation to exercise.
You put others first. There is no more demanding job than being a mother, and with motherhood comes a complete shift in lifestyle and priorities. Feeding time, changing diapers, bonding with your newborn, and managing erratic sleep schedules leave little time or energy for self-care activities. Many women struggle to find a balance between parenting responsibilities and personal health goals, making postpartum weight loss difficult.
The Benefits of GLP-1 Medications for Postpartum Weight Loss
GLP-1 medications can provide unique advantages for new moms seeking postpartum weight loss. First and foremost, they help regulate blood sugar levels and can improve insulin sensitivity, which is particularly beneficial for moms with a history of prediabetes or diabetes. Moms seeking additional benefits beyond weight loss and blood sugar management can consider Ozempic (semaglutide), Trulicity (liraglutide), or Victoza (liraglutide)—all of which have been shown to support cardiovascular and kidney health.
One of the most valuable effects GLP-1s have on new moms is the quieting of what some have described as “food noise”—the constant, intrusive chatter in our heads about what we just ate, didn't eat, or what we plan to eat later. GLP-1 medications help dial down looping thoughts and shift attention away from cravings by targeting the hormonal pathways responsible for regulating hunger and satiety.
GLP-1-supported weight loss programs like Robin can give you the tools and support you need to reset your relationship with food, lose weight, and build better habits for life.
When Is It Safe to Start Taking a GLP-1 After Pregnancy?
GLP-1 medications are generally considered safe for new moms; however, it's vital to consult a licensed healthcare provider before beginning any treatment. Your doctor can consider key factors like your medical history and potential contraindications (e.g., breastfeeding, allergies) to ensure a GLP-1 is safe and appropriate for you at this time.
In general, GLP-1 medications should not be started immediately after delivery. At a minimum, new moms should wait until they have completed their postpartum checkup and have been cleared by their healthcare provider to resume regular physical activity. If you have given birth via cesarean section, you may need to wait even longer to allow your body to fully recover from surgery. Similarly, if you have any medical conditions that may be exacerbated by GLP-1 medications, such as pancreatitis or thyroid disease, your doctor may advise you to avoid these medications altogether.
GLP-1 Impact on Breastfeeding
It's important to note that the research on GLP-1 use among breastfeeding mothers is limited. There is still a risk that these medications can be transferred via breast milk and impact infant development. Rapid weight loss can negatively impact milk production. New moms should discuss their weight loss goals and interest in GLP-1 medications with their healthcare provider, who can offer alternative treatment methods if necessary.
GLP-1 Side Effects
Like any medication, GLP-1 medications can have side effects. Common side effects include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. While these side effects are usually mild and temporary, they should be monitored and managed under the guidance of a healthcare provider. In rare cases, GLP-1 medications are linked to life-threatening complications such as pancreatitis, kidney problems, and cancer. Anyone considering a GLP-1 treatment method should be aware of these potential side effects and discuss concerns with their doctor.
You Deserve to Feel Like Yourself Again
With their ability to regulate blood sugar, reduce appetite, and support overall health, GLP-1s offer a promising solution for new moms struggling with how to lose weight after pregnancy. By incorporating a GLP-1 medication into a healthy lifestyle, you should feel better equipped to achieve your postpartum weight loss goals without sacrificing your well-being or the health of your baby.
Ready to get started? Sign up for Robin—the only GLP-1-supported weight loss program designed specifically for moms.
This article has been clinically reviewed by Hanna Rifkin, RD, CDCES, clinical health coach at Robin by One Drop.