Does taking birth control pills make it harder to lose weight?  Do birth control pills contribute to weight gain?

The six-week post-pregnancy checkup with the OB is here.  A milestone for many new moms.  You are starting to feel like you can do this whole mom thing alright.  Baby might even be logging some good sleep now and hopefully you are on your way to dropping the pregnancy weight.

For me, I felt great at 6 weeks post-delivery.  I had officially dropped all the baby weight and was feeling strong.  Since then, it’s been a bit downhill.  Maybe I ramped up training too quickly.  Maybe I haven’t gotten enough sleep.  In the month since that visit, I’ve gained nine pounds and my knees feel completely shot.  I’m moody and down (in part because of weight gain and discomfort I’m sure).  But now, I’m starting to wonder if that is all due to the birth control pills I was put on at that visit.

A call back to my OB/GYN and I am now on a new pill.  Still my curiosity has been piqued – are the pills causing these problems or is it something else?

Of the thousands of peer-reviewed, scientific articles published on oral contraceptives, only a handful (<500) mention anything about weight gain.  Most of these do not address the potential effects of the pill on weight gain leading me to think that the jury is still out on this one.  One recent study that I did manage to find in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology followed 800 women for about three years.  Cruising around on the web did nothing else but demonstrate there are a ton of different responses (some women lose weight, some gain weight, some stay the same).

In my case, I’ll say YES, birth control pills significantly contributed to weight gain.  How sure am I? Positive! Because when I switched to another brand of pill the weight gain stopped and even receded a bit with no other major changes to diet, exercise.

Any other experiences out there?  I imagine too that it can’t be generalized – different pills have different types/amounts of hormones.  Very complicated issue.  At the end of the day – listen to your body.  You know when something’s up… especially your weight!

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