You may be wondering if your postpartum belly will ever go away, and it’s taking a toll on your self-esteem.
There is no definitive answer to when you’ll regain your pre-pregnancy body, as every woman’s pregnancy experience and body is unique. However, we’re confident you can bounce back to your former self with the right mindset, some hard work, and the right equipment.
In this article, we’ll uncover why it’s common to end up with stubborn belly fat and what you can do to get your pre-pregnancy body back sooner.
If you’re still in your pregnancy and looking to plan a head, you should check out our other articles on 10 Steps to a Healthy Pregnancy Guide and these 5 Tips for a Holistic Approach to Pregnancy to make losing weight after pregnancy much easier.
- Understanding The After-Pregnancy Belly
- 5 Tips For A Flat Tummy After Pregnancy
- 1. Breastfeed To Promote Weight Loss
- 2. Get A Postpartum Massage
- 3. Wear A Postpartum Girdle
- 4. Eat Clean
- 5. Postnatal Fitness
- Post-Pregnancy Exercises To Flatten Your Tummy
- Pelvic Floor Exercises
- Go For Walks
- Post-Pregnancy Yoga Or Other Low-Impact Activities
- Focus On Core Strength
- Tips On Firming Loose Skin After Delivery
- Wear A Bellefit Postpartum Girdle To Get The Most Benefits
- Summing Up: Reducing Belly Fat Naturally
Understanding The After-Pregnancy Belly
One of the most common complaints after pregnancy we hear from new moms is the dreaded “jelly belly” or “mommy pooch” that just doesn’t seem to go away.
Here are some of the main reasons why your belly is looking a little bigger than you’d like after pregnancy.
The uterus that first housed your baby started out as the size of a large plum (3 – 4 inches), and it stretches up to 500 times its size during pregnancy. Just as the uterus didn’t grow overnight, don’t expect your uterus to shrink back to its original size so quickly.
The process of your uterus transforming back to its original size is called involution and the whole process can take anywhere from 6 – 8 weeks after giving birth, which may leave you feeling quite large for longer than you’d like — luckily, the female body is designed to bounce back to shape eventually.
You’ll experience cramping and uterine contractions, called “afterpains” —which shrink the uterus back to size — from around 72 hours after delivery until involution is complete. Some mothers find breastfeeding to help with the afterpains and wearing a postpartum girdle can also reduce these pains.
Accumulated ‘Baby Belly Fat’
There are several factors that come into play for the stubborn belly fat that accumulates as a result of pregnancy.
Humans generally put on weight around the belly when they consume more calories than they’re burning. When you’re pregnant, your hormone changes make it difficult to exercise. Therefore, you’re also burning fewer calories per day, while eating for two.
Most women will find the significant portion of their weight gain happens in the third trimester. Those same hormones also causes you to hold on to calories and store it as fat to nourish and protect the growing baby. The extra fat is also used for nutrients for when it’s time to breastfeed.
Separated Abdominal Muscles
Diastasis recti may be responsible for the belly pooch even after you’ve lost most of your pregnancy weight.
There are varying case severities of diastasis recti, but luckily the most common cases don’t require surgery to treat.
After-Pregnancy Loose Skin
Loose skin after pregnancy is amongst one of THE most common issues new moms face when working on getting back to their pre-pregnancy shape.
The intense 9-months stretch your skin undergoes causes collagen fibers to break due to over-stretching. However, there are natural ways to minimize loose skin that doesn’t always require surgery — more on that below.
5 Tips For A Flat Tummy After Pregnancy
Now that we’ve taken a closer look at some of the main reasons for that stubborn mummy-tummy, we’ll share our tips on how to slim your belly and waist line.
Our advice should never replace the recommendations given to you by your healthcare professional, so before you begin exercising or making any substantial changes to your health regimen, please consult with your doctor.
1. Breastfeed To Promote Weight Loss
There are many benefits to breastfeeding your baby — from providing the ideal nutrients, bonding, and strengthening their immune system.
But did you know that breastfeeding also promotes post-pregnancy weight-loss?
For advice on getting your baby to latch, check out our top breastfeeding tips.
2. Get A Postpartum Massage
Self-care post-pregnancy can go a long way for your mental and physical wellbeing. Consider going for a postpartum massage to help increase the blood-flow to the abdominal area to speed your postpartum recovery. Massages are also excellent for addressing saggy skin because massage oils nourish the skin and improves the overall elasticity.
This little self-indulgence may also boost your pleasure hormones, oxytocin, which helps the involution process — shrinking the uterus back to its pre-pregnancy size.
Women who had c-sections will need to wait until their incisions fully recover before getting a massage. It’s a good idea to get the green light from your doctor before booking an appointment.
For more help on this, check out our guide to getting a professional postpartum massage.
3. Wear A Postpartum Girdle
You can wear medical-grade belly binders a day or two after delivery to jump-start your postpartum recovery process. In fact, celebrities including Gwyneth Paltrow, Kim Kardashian, and Jessica Alba wore post-pregnancy girdles to bounce back from their pregnancy bodies.
Today, this best kept celebrity secret is out of the bag and accessible to moms everywhere. The Bellefit postpartum girdles are doctor recommended and the FDA-registered. They’re the top choice for smart moms looking to get comfort and support during their postpartum recovery whether they had a natural or c-section delivery.
There are many benefits to wearing a postpartum girdle immediately after delivery. Here are some of the benefits:
- Compression therapy helps to reduce pain from involution
- Aids the process of uterus involution
- Promotes blood circulation
- Improves posture
- Supports the abdominal muscles and back during exercise
- Helps you fit back into your pre-pregnancy clothes sooner
All these benefits combined — among others — not only support and speed up child birth recovery but also help to get rid of baby belly fat.
Take a look at these photo testimonials from savvy moms, and see the difference for yourself.
4. Eat Clean
The better you eat, the better you’ll feel.
There’s a lot of information going around about post-pregnancy diets. Whatever you chose to do, remember but this is not the the time to restrict your calories, as you need the nutrition to keep your energy levels high and nourish your baby.
For a detailed meal plan, consult with an expert to make sure you’re getting the right nutrients you need to nourish your baby and keep your energy levels high without over-consuming calories.
As a general rule, do your best to avoid processed foods, excess sugar, stimulating drinks, and of course, alcohol.
For an extra nutritional boost — that happens to be a collagen powerhouse— add homemade bone broth to your meals. Healthy fats and proteins will help you feel full for longer, so you can avoid snacking between meals.
5. Postnatal Fitness
According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, postpartum women should do at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity a week.
It should come as no surprise that exercise is on this list. Exercise is a must if you’re looking to reduce belly fat and strengthen your abdominal wall post-pregnancy.
It may take weeks and even months for you to get back into the gym and on a regular fitness routine, but there are ways you can get physical exercise that are low-impact and post-pregnancy friendly, like walking or postpartum yoga.
Before starting an exercise regimen, please consult with your doctor and modify your exercises as needed to avoid injury.
Post-Pregnancy Exercises To Flatten Your Tummy
Pelvic Floor Exercises
The most simple exercise you can do right after child birth is to dedicate a couple of minutes a day to strengthening your pelvic floor.
Pregnancy is not kind to the pelvic floor muscles. Pregnancy and labor stretches the pelvic floor and abdominal muscles, weakening them. The pelvic floor lies between the front of the pubic bone to the tailbone. These muscles support your uterus, bladder, and colon.
Kegel exercises help to strengthen the pelvic floor — and best of all, doesn’t require any special equipment.
Go For Walks
The most gentle way to start exercising after your pregnancy is walking.
Post-Pregnancy Yoga Or Other Low-Impact Activities
Yoga is a meditation practice through moving postures that strengthen the mind and body —and it’s a low-impact activity.
If you practiced yoga regularly before your pregnancy, you should be able to join your yoga class much sooner. Just ask that your instructor provide you with modifications for certain postures.
There are also post-pregnancy classes designed for women like you, and they’re worth checking out as you can meet other new moms too.
Focus On Core Strength
Due to the nature of pregnancy, women’s core muscles that support your trunk movement becomes compromised from stretching to accommodate your growing baby. The weakened muscles can lead to back pain and a loss of mobility.
While there isn’t an exercise you can do to target stubborn belly fat, strengthening your core muscles will help reduce the appearance of fat by building up the muscles underneath it.
Before you take your post-pregnancy workout routine to the next level, check you for symptoms of diastasis recti. Some core strengthening exercises can potentially expand the gap between your abdominal muscles, which can cause further injury.
You can check out these exercises that will help you gradually recover your core strength.
Tips On Firming Loose Skin After Delivery
Regaining that elasticity in your skin will depend on a number of factors, including, genetics, age, weight gain, and number of pregnancies.
Sometimes the only solution to sagging skin post-pregnancies is surgery, like a tummy tuck — we’ll share some of the natural remedies for milder cases of loose skin that’s worth the try before going under the knife.
Nourish Your Skin With Hydrating Products
Hydrating products rich in vitamins and collagen will definitely help improve the look and feel of your skin.
Look for firming creams specifically designed for post-pregnancy for the best results. Keep in mind that topical products don’t penetrate all the layers of the skin — so it’s not going to work miracles if you’re experiencing a severe case of sagging skin, but it will help to improve the overall appearance.
Drink Plenty Of Water
Hydration is an important aspect of maintaining good health. When it comes to skin-care, water helps the skin retain moisture and improves elasticity.
Get A Skin Wrap Treatment
Skin wraps or body wrap treatments are a popular spa technique that involves masking the belly or other problem areas with clay and other botanicals to nourish and detox the skin. The areas are then wrapped with cloth or plastic bandages to encourage your natural body heat to open the pores and allow the botanical benefits of soak in.
Again, these skin wraps are only skin deep, so they won’t make sagging skin disappear, but it can improve the texture and elasticity — plus it’s a great way to treat yourself.
Wear A Bellefit Postpartum Girdle To Get The Most Benefits
Most of our advice here is pretty straight forward — make a goal and stick to it with the right mindset, solid advice, and dedication to reducing your belly fat, and you’ll see results.
One of the best investments you can make — in helping you stay on track and feel great doing it — is a Bellefit postpartum girdle.
We’ve made it our mission to help moms bounce-back from their pregnancy bodies and regain their confidence with our premium-quality girdle collection.
With over eight-styles to choose from in sizes XS – 3XL, you’re bound to find a style that suits your needs. Many moms found that wearing a girdle significantly helped with their postpartum recovery because it contains the loose skin and weak core muscles to support your movements from daily activities to your exercises.
As an added bonus, these girdles look great too — say good-bye to bulky postpartum wraps. These corsets and girdle styles are virtually seam-less under clothing, allowing you to fit into your pre-pregnancy jeans or form-fitting dresses without anyone knowing your little secret.
Summing Up: Reducing Belly Fat Naturally
Beyond the desire of getting rid of that baby belly fat and getting your flat tummy back, you need to think about all of these strategies as a whole.
Whenever possible, give your body its needed restorative time. We know this may seem impossible, but it’s important to take rest, meditate, practice deep breathing, and patience with your body.
Staying motivated is a very essential part of the recovery process. Remember the incredible miracle your body had undergone through to bring your child into the world, and be kind to yourself. Whatever you’re experiencing during your recovery, you’re not alone — you got this, and Bellefit is there with you through every step of the way.