How Many Calories Do You Burn During Labor 2024? Experts Explain

The physical demands of childbirth are immense, and the calories burned are often overlooked. “How Many Calories Do You Burn During Labor? Experts Explain” sheds light on the energy women expend during this powerful and transformative experience.

How Many Calories Do You Burn During Labor?

Your body is an energy powerhouse during labor, working continuously. Each contraction is like a workout session for your uterus during active labor. Picture this: each hour of labor can see you using about 200 to 600 calories. That’s equivalent to an intense gym session!

  • Vaginal Delivery: It’s often likened to running a marathon, using a substantial amount of energy.
  • C-Section: Although typically less calorie-intensive than vaginal delivery, it still requires significant energy.

Imagine this: The calorie burn can add up quickly if labor extends over several hours.

Factors Influencing Calorie Burn

While you’re giving birth, multiple factors come into play that determine how many calories you will burn. These include:

  • Duration of Labor: Longer labor means more calorie expenditure.
  • Intensity of Contractions: Stronger uterine contractions can lead to a higher calorie burn.
  • Mother’s Body Size: Your basal metabolic rate (BMR) influences the total calories burned.
  • Type of Delivery: C-sections typically have different caloric dynamics compared to vaginal deliveries.

A collective consideration of these factors can mean the total calories burned during childbirth might be as high as 50,000 calories in a month, factoring in both active and inactive days.

Remember: Your body’s calorie usage during labor is not just a number. It’s a testament to the strength and endurance required in bringing new life into the world.

Physical Considerations and Postpartum Recovery

A woman in a hospital bed, surrounded by medical equipment, with a doctor or nurse discussing postpartum recovery and physical considerations

Weight Loss After Childbirth

Your body has been through an incredible process, and postpartum weight loss is a common concern. Remember that during pregnancy, you gained weight from your growing baby and additional fluid and fat stores intended to support both of you. After childbirth, weight loss isn’t instant; it’s gradual.

  • Initial Weight Loss: Right after delivery, you can expect to lose about 10-13 pounds (baby weight, placenta, and amniotic fluid).
  • Retained Fluids: In the weeks following, you’ll continue to shed retained fluids, especially if you’re breastfeeding as it burns about 500 calories a day.

Postpartum Exercise and Diet

Your body needs time to heal, so wait for your healthcare provider’s go-ahead before starting any exercise routine. Moderate exercise after pregnancy can:

  • Reduce postpartum depression risks.
  • Strengthen and tone abdominal muscles.
  • Boost your energy levels.
  • Promote better sleep.

Aim for light exercises at first, like walking or pelvic floor exercises. As your strength returns, you can gradually increase the intensity. Pairing exercise with a calorie-controlled, healthy diet is key. Focus on:

  • Lean protein
  • Whole grains
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Healthy fats


Do you burn calories giving birth?

Yes, you burn calories giving birth as it’s a physically demanding process that requires significant energy.

How many calories does labouring burn?

Labouring can burn between 400 to 700 calories per hour, with variations based on the intensity and duration of labor.

How many calories does 8 hours of physical labor burn?

Eight hours of physical labor can burn between 1,000 to 3,000 calories, depending on the type of work and your body weight.

How many extra calories do you burn a day while pregnant?

While pregnant, you typically burn an extra 300 to 500 calories a day, especially in the second and third trimesters.

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