A friend doesn't go on a diet because you are fat. -Erma Bombeck
Question #65110 posted on 10/25/2011 1:42 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Approximately how many calories does a woman burn in childbirth? I know it would vary from woman to woman and from birth to birth but would you be able to give me a ballpark answer?

-Regardless of the answer, I'm sure this is a terrible weight loss strategy


Dear correct,

Obviously, there's going to be a whole lot of variation from one person to the next, but I thought that a decent way to approximate calories burned in labor would be to look at a calorie expenditure chart, find the exercise that seemed closest, and multiply that hourly caloric expenditure by a typical labor length.

From that chart, I thought weight lifting seemed the most similar to labor, and although the exact number depends on your weight and intensity, it looks like it's going to burn about 300-400 calories per hour. The actual pushing stage of labor can last a few hours in normal deliveries, so let's say that a normal labor can burn about 600-1200 calories. Yes, that is a big range. Yes, I left out earlier stages of labor, which would affect the answer but probably not by more than my extreme use of estimations did. Yes, the numbers in the range I gave could easily double, triple, or halve, depending on any particular delivery. But I feel pretty confident in saying that under regular circumstances, childbirth will burn at least as many calories as a decent gym workout but not as many calories as running a marathon.

- Eirene


Dear I agree,

Fitocracy does not have childbirth or labor as listed workout options. Therefore, women in childbirth burn approximately 0 calories.

~Anne, Certainly